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Christmas crackers: Racing preview

Updated: Thursday, 27 Dec 2012 14:09 | Comments

Barry McEneaney feels it is hard to look past Sizing Europe in the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase (13:25)
Barry McEneaney feels it is hard to look past Sizing Europe in the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase (13:25)

By Barry McEneaney

Celtic Cailin (12:50 Leopardstown)

Mumbo Jumbo seems certain to start an odds-on favourite in what is a relatively weak Paddy Power Maiden Hurdle and could well run out an impressive winner. However, he’ll need to overcome two potential negatives to score here, namely his fluency over timber - or lack thereof – and his ability to prove effective over the trip.

Mags Mullins’ charge will almost certainly prove the best long-term prospect in the field, but he should ultimately prove much better over far longer distances. The hurdling technique he displayed on debut at Listowel was far from faultless and an obvious each-way alternative to the favourite comes in the form of Celtic Cailin. Her limitations after 13 starts over hurdles are clear, but she’s been making steady progress of late and could well bustle up the favourite if she consents to settle better.

Dancers Dilemma and Raise The Beat could make the frame if handling the terrain, but that prospect is far from certain.

Sizing Europe (13:25 Leopardstown)

Sizing Europe may be a patently uninspired selection in the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase, but it’s almost impossible to oppose one of the best chasers of recent years with anything assembled here. He’s been running as good as ever over longer trips this season and a return to three miles has long been mooted by trainer Henry de Bromhead. However, any such experimentation in the King George at Kempton or in the Lexus at Leopardstown has been scuppered by the weather gods.

Opposing Sprinter Sacre over two mile at Cheltenham is likely to prove an exercise in futility, but over a furlong further, on soft ground, against this opposition, he should deliver.

Rubi Light could be the one to follow him home after travelling well enough on his seasonal reappearance before appearing to blow up through lack of fitness.

Bright New Dawn (14:00 Leopardstown)

Jezki is going to prove a tough nut to crack in the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle and boasts the best form, but Bright New Dawn’s win over the much-vaunted Ned Buntline may have been underestimated by the market. The latter shed his maiden tag over hurdles less than 24 hours ago and Bright New Dawn accounted for him in reasonably convincing style on his seasonal debut at Fairyhouse earlier in the month after failing to settle on his first attempt over hurdles back in February.

While the drop back in trip is hardly a positive, the presence of inveterate front-runner Rory O’Moore in the field could negate that major concern and he looks the type to perform better in better races. Indeed, the latter could well cause an upset if granted an easy lead, but such a scenario isn’t guaranteed.

Sizing Rio has strong claims of at least reaching the places, but one to oppose may be likely second favourite Waaheb. The Dermot Weld inmate was hugely impressive in bumpers last season, but appears to have been priced largely on his performances in that discipline, with little regard to an inconclusive hurdling debut.

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