Saturday 16 December 2017

Stars head for Leopardstown

Thomas Kelly

AS expected, Sizing Europe was the only big-name withdrawal from yesterday's list of entries for the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown on December 27.

Eight remain in the Grade One two-mile-one-furlong event, including 2010 Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Big Zeb. Colm Murphy's stable star won the race last year and looked as good as ever when beating Noble Prince at Navan last month.

Golden Silver, a prolific winner which was rather fortunate last time out in the Hilly Way at Cork, finished second 12 months ago and won the race in 2009 and looks to be Willie Mullins' best chance of victory. Stablemate Scotsirish, last seen when taking the wrong course in the cross-country chase at Cheltenham before turning around to finish fourth, could also line up.

Having taken Sizing Europe out, Henry de Bromhead could run Paddy Power Gold Cup disappointment Loosen My Load.

Noble Prince is still engaged for Paul Nolan and Forpadydeplasterer, which returned to form when third to Big Zeb at Navan, is another top-class entry. Jessica Harrington's Saludos and Edward O'Grady's Tranquil Sea complete the field.

On the same day at Leopardstown, Becauseicouldntsee will aim to go one better in this season's Paddy Power Handicap Chase having finished second to Dermot Weld's Majestic Concorde a year ago. His ultimate destination is Aintree for the Grand National, in which he was a faller at the second last April.

"It's all systems go for Becauseicouldntsee in the Paddy Power Chase and he'll definitely run barring a setback between now and then," said trainer Noel Glynn.

"It's a very competitive race and I'm going there hopeful, but there could be 10 horses coming to the last together! It's that sort of contest."

David Pipe is contemplating sending a couple of runners across the Irish Sea for the meeting, with his Notus De La Tour earmarked for what's shaping up to be a cracking renewal of the Grade One Racing Post Novice Chase.

Tony Martin's impressive Drinmore winner Bog Warrior and Mullins' Cheltenham Festival hero Sir Des Champs could clash in this contest, but Pipe won't be put off by the competition and stablemate Sona Sasta is also a possible for the Paddy Power Chase.

"We could well be heading off to the Emerald Isle with a couple of runners. Notus De La Tour could well compete in the Grade One novice chase, while Sona Sasta could take part in the valuable staying handicap chase," Pipe revealed.

"There is excellent prize money on offer and we will confirm later in the week if we plan on travelling across."

Paddy Power Chase -- sponsors bet: 9/1 On His Own, 10/1 Beautiful Sound, Smoking Aces, 12/1 Linnel, 14/1 Groody Hill, Prince De Beauchene, 16/1 Becauseicouldntsee, Cross Appeal, Four Commanders, Quadrillon, Rivage D'Or, Seabass, Some Target, Sona Sasta, Sweeps Hill, The Hard Hat, 20/1 bar.

Irish Independent

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