Bob's Worth may be part of Christmas bonanza
RACING:A total of €1.2 million will be up for grabs during the four-day Christmas festival at Leopardstown with hopes high that some fascinating Anglo-Irish clashes could be in store for the holiday crowds.
The Gold Cup favourite Bob’s Worth was among 27 horses left in the Lexus Chase on day three of the festival when the entries for the six Grade One races over Christmas were released yesterday.
Only Noel Meade’s Pandorama has interrupted the recent British domination of the big chase in which the visitors have won five of the last six renewals.
Last season’s Gold Cup runner-up, The Giant Bolster, was also among the cross-channel-based hopefuls for the Lexus, which this time round is expected to feature top Irish chasers such as Sir Des Champs and Flemenstar.
John Quinn has already nominated the Istabraq Festival Hurdle on day four as his preferred target for last Saturday’s impressive Fighting Fifth winner Countrywide Flame.
The latter beat Cinders And Ashes at Newcastle and Donald McCain has also left in his star performer at Leopardstown.
However, 2011 champion Hurricane Fly dominates an entry that includes last year’s winner Unaccompanied and another star Irish mare in Voler La Vedette.
She was famously at the centre of a €25 million betting exchange cock-up last Christmas in the Woodies Hurdle over three miles, but faces a more mundane short-term outlook now.
Trainer Colm Murphy has reported Voler La Vedette is set to have a breathing operation after finishing only third to Zaidpour in her Bar One Hatton’s Grace Hurdle title defence at Fairyhouse on Sunday.
That followed last month’s Navan defeat in the Lismullen Hurdle when Voler La Vedette started at 1 to 7.
“It just seems her wind is catching her out. There’s always been a little issue there, but last season we were getting away with it with the tongue-tie on. This year she’s not getting away with it,” said Murphy.
“She travelled into the race well but she’s just not getting home. So we’ll get her looked at and I’d imagine she would have a breathing operation,” he added.
Voler La Vedette hit the headlines a number of times last year, but especially when a technical malfunction on the Betfair exchange resulted in an account offering to lay €25 million on her winning the Leopardstown Woodies Hurdle. That theoretically would have resulted in a near-€700 million payout. In-running bets were later voided.
Later in the season, Voler La Vedette put in a career best effort to finish runner-up to Big Buck’s at Cheltenham and Murphy has dismissed the idea that race could have had a negative long-term impact on her.
“I don’t think that’s the case. She seemed good and strong at home and we couldn’t have been happier with her,” he said. “Hopefully we can get her sorted out.”
The big handicap pot over Christmas will be the Paddy Power Chase and the firm yesterday installed Glam Gerry and the Troytown runner-up Like Your Style as their 10 to 1 joint-favourites.