Four horses to watch at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival

Four horses to watch at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival

Dec 9, 2021, 12:18:44 AM Sport

The festive period is an exciting time for horse racing fans. Kempton Park hosts the iconic King George VI Chase on Boxing Day, with the Welsh Grand National taking place at Chepstow on December 27th. Meanwhile, the Leopardstown Christmas Festival will provide the passionate Irish racegoers with their fix of top-class action at the Dublin racecourse. 

Running from the 26th-29th December, the four-day meeting boasts seven Grade 1 races, including the Future Champions Novice Chase, the Leopardstown Christmas Hurdle and the lucrative Savills Chase — all of which are contests that will attract a lot of interest in the Betdaq horse race betting.  

That said, let’s take a look at four horses to keep an eye out for at the prestigious meeting — several of which will likely be making their way across the Irish Sea to take part in the Cheltenham Festival in just a few months’ time. 


Not often is Henry de Bromhead’s star hurdler the second favourite prior to a race. But that is the reality facing Honeysuckle ahead of the Grade 1 Matheson Hurdle on the closing day of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival, as she currently trails the Willie Mullins-trained Sharjah in the ante-post betting. Still, the seven-year-old, who is the odds-on favourite to win the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle, carried on her unbeaten streak with a win on her seasonal reappearance in the Grade 1 Hatton’s Grace Hurdle. It would take a special run from Sharjah, who recently won the top-grade Morgiana Hurdle, to add the first blemish to Honeysuckle’s resume.

A Plus Tard

Another prized asset currently in De Bromhead’s yard, A Plus Tard is expected to defend his Savills Chase crown on December 28th. The seven-year-old beat Kemboy by half a length to win the three-mile contest last year, but will face stiff competition from two-time Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo and stablemates Minella Indo and Envoi Allen this time out. The 2022 Gold Cup favourite won the Grade 1 Lancashire Chase by some 22 lengths last month and De Bromhead will be hoping for another victory here as he targets back-to-back victories in the Cheltenham showpiece. Having Rachael Blackmore in the saddle will, of course, be an added bonus for A Plus Tard.


Expectations are high for Energumene after a fantastic season in Ireland last year. The Mullins-trained horse won all four of his races in the 2020-21 campaign, including the Irish Arkle Novice Chase at Leopardstown in February and the Punchestown Ryanair Novice Chase in April — with no one even managing to get within eight lengths of the seven-year-old. He’s the favourite for the Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase ahead of Chacun Pour Soi and Allaho and is expected to give the great Shishkin a run for his money in the Cheltenham Champion Chase in March. 

Appreciate It

Sticking with Mullins’ esteemed yard, Appreciate It is the joint favourite alongside Gordon Elliott’s Riviere D’etel to win the Racing Post Novice Chase on Boxing Day, which will also feature the likes of Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner Bob Olinger and Ferny Hollow, who actually caused an upset when getting the better of Appreciate It in the 2020 Champion Bumper. The seven-year-old has come a long way since then though, winning three successive Group 1s — including the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Prestbury Park in March. It’s hard to look past him on December 26th and it would be no surprise to see him back in the winners’ enclosure at Cheltenham, where he is the favourite to win the Arkle. 

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