Ryanair boss, Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud, were the major winners on the penultimate day of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival, winning four races, including both Grade 1 contests.
Road To Respect (16/1) was an impressive winner of the day’s highlight, the three-mile Grade 1 Leopardstown Christmas Chase, when leading home a Gigginstown House Stud clean sweep. The Noel Meade-trained and Seán Flanagan-ridden winner, who won last April’s Grade 1 Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase at Fairyhouse, had one and a quarter lengths to spare over Balko Des Flos (66/1) with a further two and a quarter lengths back to course specialist Outlander (8/1) in third.so if you want to double what you won why not go spillegratislots.com Where you can play more than 1500 free slots games online, multilingual website
The reigning Irish, Cheltenham and Punchestown Gold Cups winner Sizing John (9/10f) finished a distant seventh in the day’s feature, with jockey Robbie Power later stating that the Jessica Harrington-trained runner was “never going.” The seven year old was found to be “clinically abnormal” when examined post race.
Cork jockey Davy Russell came in for the plum ride on hot favourite Apple’s Jade in the Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle when it was announced this morning that Jack Kennedy would be out of action for the day.
The Gordon Elliott-trained 4/6 favourite had to dig deep in the closing stage of the Grade 1 three-mile contest, a trip she was trying for the first time, to hold off Jessica Harrington’s Supasundae by half a length, with Bapaume from the Willie Mullins yard back in third.
The five year old filly has now won seven races at the highest grade but her trainer confirmed her target at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival will be the OLGB Mares’ Hurdle and not the Stayers’ Hurdle despite having shown today that she can get the longer trip.
Gigginstown House Stud also won The Irish Daily Star Christmas Novice Handicap Hurdle when Hardback (16/1) got the better of Low Sun (10/1) by a head. Winning trainer Joseph O’Brien doubled up for the owners when successful in the next race, The Ballymaloe Foods Flat Race. Alighted (16/1) had one and a half lengths to spare over Young Wolf (11/2) in second.
A sad post script to day three at Leopardstown was the loss of both Nichols Canyon and Zabana, as both horses had to be put down when seriously injured in their respective races, the Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle and the Leopardstown Christmas Chase.
The seven year old son of 2007 Epsom Derby winner Authorized, Nichols Canyon was an eight-time Grade 1 winner and is the only horse to have beaten Faugheen when he defeated his stable companion in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown in 2015.
The Chris Jones-owned Andrew Lynch-trained Zabana was also euthanized after falling at the seventh fence in the Leopardstown Christmas Chase. A former Grade 1 winner of the Growise Champion Novice Chase at the Punchestown Festival in 2016, the eight year old chestnut gelding was a son of Halling.