Apart from the Welsh National at Chepstow, the other big handicap chase over the Festive period is the Paddy Power at Leopardstown and this is another race which can have connotations on the Grand National at Aintree.
In recent years Aintree horses such as Hear The Echo, Point Barrow, Chelsea Harbour, and Numbersixvalverde have run in this valuable handicap at the Leopardstown Xmas Festival meeting. Also, second in last year’s Leopardstown race was Vic Venturi, winner of the Becher Chase this year and currently 20/1 with Stan James for victory in the 2010 Grand National.
The likes of Gungadu, Siegemaster, Parsons Pistol and Pomme Tiepy are in the declarations at Leopardstown and could also end up vying for a place at Aintree but who might actually win this year’s Paddy Power Chase?
Looking at the seven previous winners of this race I’ve come up with the following as a way of whittling down the field:
OR = 106-142 7/7
Weight = 9-10-11-3 7/7
Age = 6-9 7/7
Previously won over at least 20f over fences 7/7
No more than four runs that season 7/7
Only one or two wins previously over fences (i.e. unexposed) 6/7
This cuts the field down to the following:
Of the above I favour Oscar Time and Dooneys Gate. I am slightly worried that Oscar Time’s best runs seem to be on a right-handed track so my Xmas chocolate coin is going to go on Willie Mullins’ eight-year-old Dooneys Gate who looked to be on the verge of winning a chase at Tramore last April when tipping up at the last and made an eye-catching return to the track when third at Fairyhouse recently when running over an inadequate trip.
A light weight and the potential for improvement look the key to this race and this must be one of the few big handicaps in Ireland that Willie Mullins has still to win. Hopefully that will change on Sunday!
Who do you fancy for the Paddy Power Chase and do you think any of the runners could go on to compete at Aintree in the Grand National 2010?