Fakir D’oudairies looked something very special when winning at the highest level last time out and is taken to complete his hat-trick over fences in the feature 2m 1f Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase on Boxing Day at Leopardstown (14:20).
Trained by Joseph O’Brien for leading Irish owner JP McManus, this four-year-old jumped the vaunted Samcro off his feet when landing the Drinmore at Fairyhouse in style earlier this month.
Not content with besting dual Champion Hurdle runner-up Melon on his chase debut, Fakir D’oudairies was simply too slick for another major rival.
The way he attacked his fences at Fairyhouse strongly suggested he had two-mile chaser written all over him.
Samcro simply couldn’t clear the obstacles with anything like the speed and precision shown by this son of Kapgarde.
Once his main opposition fell two out, Fakir D’oudairies was left in complete command and jockey Mark Walsh eased him down. He was thus value for tons more than the 22-length winning margin.
Terms of Racing Post Novice Chase favour Fakir
Fakir D’oudairies was thought to be such a talent over hurdles that, after winning a Grade 2 Triumph Trial on just his second hurdles start, he was pitched into the Supreme at the Cheltenham Festival and far from disgraced when fourth.
It was a fine effort against his elders. He also lost little in defeat when a narrow runner-up in subsequent juvenile Grade 1s at Aintree and Punchestown.
This is a horse with the potential to go right to the top of the chasing tree, based on his first two starts in that sphere.
Geldings usually have to give 7lb to mares, but the weight-for-age Fakir D’oudairies gets in the Racing Post Novice Chase means he races off level weights with main market rival Laurina.
That puts race terms firmly in his favour. Fakir D’oudairies is thus a strong 6/4 fancy with Coral for more Grade 1 glory and to complete his hat-trick.
Very useful mare Laurina is next best in the Racing Post Novice Chase ahead of Craddockstown winner Notebook.
Aspire Tower appeals in Knight Frank
Elsewhere on the Boxing Day card, Aspire Tower made a very taking hurdles debut for Henry De Bromhead so looks worth a wager to follow-up in the 2m Grade 2 Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle (13:10).
This ex-British trained Flat convert had some useful form on the level when in the care of first Richard Hannon and then Steve Gollings.
Aspire Tower landed a nursery handicap over 1m 1f at Newmarket on his fifth start under Rules and was then a fine third to Spanish Mission.
The winner went on to land the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy and Jockey Club Derby Invitational over in America.
Aspire Tower also started 2019 off with a run behind subsequent Gordon Stakes victor and St Leger third Nayef Road back at Newmarket.
Although beaten 25 lengths, the runner-up Fraser Island has come out and bolted up over hurdles at Newbury after joining Nicky Henderson.
Aspire Tower showed the benefit of his own Flat experience on debut for De Bromhead when a 13-length winner at Punchestown. He made virtually all on his first start over timber.
Although jockey Rachael Blackmore lost her iron at one point, Aspire Tower only needed pushing along in-between the last two flights and went further clear on the run-in.
Wolf Prince, who was third, has since come out sluiced up by 14 lengths at Fairyhouse to advertise the form.
With further progress assured and the De Bromhead stable entering the Christmas period on a 24 per cent strike in the previous fortnight, Aspire Tower appeals here.
He is preferred to the relatively exposed McManus owned A Wave Of The Sea, but the same owner has a respected French import making his debut for Gordon Elliott in Aramax. Aspire Tower is 2/1 with Betfair for the Knight Frank.
Concertista can break maiden tag
Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins is double-handed in the 2m maiden hurdle (12:40), but preference is for Dawn Run runner-up Concertista now back down in distance.
This daughter of Nathaniel outran massive odds of 66/1 on her bow over the obstacles.
Such was the confidence in her that Mullins pitched her straight into the Grade 2 Cheltenham Festival contest he has farmed since it was introduced.
Although the yard adopted a scattergun policy to that race in March, Concertista was chinned on the line. She went down fighting by a short-head to Eglantine De Seuil.
Prior to being purchased by owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, Concertista had won one of her six starts on the Flat in France.
Although turned over when sent off odds-on for a 2m 4f Fairyhouse maiden hurdle on reappearance, there were excuses that day.
Flights were omitted and the extended run-in saw Concertista get headed and weaken to finish fourth but beaten less than six lengths.
She may not have got the trip and it’s no surprise that connections go back down to 2m here.
Danny Mullins, who gave Concertista such a cracking ride at Cheltenham, is now back in the saddle with Paul Townend on the other Mullins runner Mt Leinster.
That stable companion is a useful bumper performer and, given his exploits in that sphere, may want further than this distance.
Concertista therefore appeals more to make it third time lucky over hurdles. She is 9/2 with Paddy Power to break her maiden tag.