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Khan to be king as Elliott set for a good Christmas


KHAN DO: Menghli Khan is an odds-on favourite. Photo: carolinenorris.ie

KHAN DO: Menghli Khan is an odds-on favourite. Photo: carolinenorris.ie

KHAN DO: Menghli Khan is an odds-on favourite. Photo: carolinenorris.ie

Of the eight graded races priced up at Leopardstown over these four days, Gordon Elliott trains the favourite for five of them.

The opening Grade One in Foxrock is the Racing Post Novice Chase and MENGLI KHAN (2.20 Leopardstown) is expected to produce the goods once again.

Willie Mullins has sent out the only winning favourites of this race since Sizing Europe in 2009 and four of the Mullins five have been odds on in that period.

Mengli Khan is the odds-on favourite this time around for Elliott and while this should be a race for punters to thread carefully due to the lack of chasing experience of the runners, it can continue to be a happy hunting ground today.

Mullins has won the race with three different jockeys in the last three years, but it has been a lucky race for Paul Townend who will aim to win it for a fourth time today on Voix du Reve. who is clearly a better chaser than he was hurdler, but Mengli Khan looks solid.

Third in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and then back at Punchestown at the end of a long season, Mengli Khan impressed on his chasing debut at Punchestown and should improve again for that run.

It could be a good start to Christmas for Elliott and his squad. The well-bred DARK DECADE (12.10 Leopardstown) gets the nod in the opening maiden hurdle.

The four-year-old has gone straight over hurdles rather than begin in a point-to-point or bumper so connections must feel he is straight enough to do himself justice here and being a brother to Martello Tower and Martello Park, he can be expected to go close.

Elliott saddles five of the 11 runners in the Grade Two Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle and CHIEF JUSTICE (1.10 Leopardstown) is picked to frank the form from Fairyhouse.

The selection got the verdict in a photo finish with Coeur Sublime at Fairyhouse and Chief Justice has less weight to concede on this occasion.

There won't be much between them again, but Chief Justice might just be a more solid candidate.

The Cheveley Park Stud colours carried by Chief Justice are becoming more prominent in Irish racing of late and they could have their first winner with Willie Mullins in the finale as French import ALLAHO (3.30 Leopardstown) is a tentative choice in a race where Two Shoe Tom could run well at a price for Peter Fahey.

WARNAQ (1.45 Leopardstown) impressed when returning from the Flat to win at Navan last time out and she could still be ahead of the National Hunt handicapper, while CITY ISLAND (12.40 Leopardstown) can claim a second maiden hurdle after being disqualified from his Galway win.