It is hard to recall a stronger renewal of Monday’s Savills Chase, the feature event of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival, and the fact that Samcro, a Grade One winner at Cheltenham back in March, is a double-figure price is an indicator of the strength in depth.
Kemboy and Delta Work, the winners in 2018 and 2019, are both back for another crack, while Presenting Percy is another contender with plenty of form in open Grade One company and returned to something like his best at Thurles last time.
The rising star in the field, though, is Minella Indo (2.25), who was overhauled by Champ in the shadow of the post in the RSA Chase in March and is making only the sixth chase start of his career. He has two easy wins to his credit already this season and Monday’s race could further enhance his claim to be Ireland’s leading hope for the Gold Cup in March.
Leopardstown 1.15 Sire Du Berlais is one of just three contenders in a nine-strong field making their Grade One debut over jumps, but the form of his wins under a big weight in the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham in 2019 and 2020 makes him the one to beat. Fury Road, third in last season’s Albert Bartlett, is progressive but still has plenty to find with the favourite on his latest Grade Two-winning form at Punchestown.
Catterick 1.30 Several interesting types in a competitive handicap hurdle, including The Russian Doyen, back over hurdles on a fair mark after two sub-par runs over fences. Preference though is for Phil Kirby’s Lord Torranaga (nap), whose opening mark of 124 looks very fair after a solid run behind a subsequent winner at Sedgefield last time.
Leopardstown 1.50 It has been a busy year already for Rapid Response, with two starts over hurdles followed by seven more over fences, but she returns to timber after a near two-month break on a decent mark and looks like the most reliable proposition in a field where several opponents lack her consistency.
Catterick 2.00 Sashenka was a fair performer on the Flat and can build on the promise she showed on her hurdling debut at Wincanton last month.
Limerick 2.45 As tricky as they come, but the top weight Articulum showed enough on his return to action at Navan earlier this month to suggest that a bigger run is just around the corner.
Greg Wood’s Monday tips
11.50 Goldencard 12.20 Gold Miner 12.55 Dexcite 1.30 Lord Torranaga (nap) 2.00 Sashenka (nb) 2.32 Event Of Sivola 3.07 Maison D’Or
2.20 Quoteline Direct 2.55 St Just 3.30 Duel In The Sun 4.05 Island Storm 4.35 Sword Spirit 5.05 Rockley Point 5.35 Wrath Of Hector 6.05 Herringswell 6.35 Another Angel
Leopardstown 3.00 The future Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere is among the top-notch chasers to have taken this Beginners’ Chase in the past and while The Big Getaway could not live up to a tall reputation on his chasing debut at Navan earlier this month, this looks like a good chance to get his fencing career back on track.
Catterick 3.07 Maison D’Or rarely runs a bad race at this track and has an excellent opportunity to get a second win over course and distance on his record.