Footpad given green light for Christmas run

Arkle winner fell on his return to action

  • Wednesday 19 December
  • News
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Footpad is set to run in the Paddy’s Rewards Club “Sugar Paddy” Chase at Leopardstown on December 27.

Willie Mullins’ six-year-old carried all before him as a novice last season, winning the Arkle at Cheltenham and the Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown.

His return to action did not go to plan this term, however, looking beaten when he fell at Naas in a race won by Saint Calvados, picking up a minor injury in the process.

“Yeah, he seems good. He has been doing fast work at home. He has schooled at home and all seems well (after cutting his leg),” said Mullins.

“Hopefully, fingers crossed, everything will be all right. It looked a very ordinary cut so we didn’t worry too much about it but it was obviously sore. We have let it heal up now and it’s fine.

“That race (Paddy’s Rewards Club Sugar Paddy Chase ) at Leopardstown seems the target for him now, we’ll go there, see how he comes out of that.”

Mullins also confirmed Great Field and Min for the race.

The Grade One contest is the centrepiece on the second afternoon of the four-day Christmas Festival at the Foxrock venue.

Mullins has claimed the prize twice in the last four years with Twinlight (2014) and Douvan (2016), while Min passed the post in front last season before the stewards promoted the Nicky Richards-trained Simply Ned to the number one spot.

Pat Fahy’s Castlegrace Paddy profited from Great Field’s fall when winning the Hilly Way Chase at Cork and could take him on again.

Simply Ned is set to defend his crown, while Ballyoisin is a major player for Enda Bolger after completing a four-timer in the Fortria Chase at Navan on his latest outing.

The other Grade One on the card is the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle.

Mullins has won the last three runnings of this two-mile heat and has four possible runners in Aramon, Prince D’Aubrelle, Tornado Flyer and Sancta Simona.

Lone Wolf is one of three Joseph O’Brien-trained contenders, while Elliott’s six-strong team includes Commander Of Fleet.

Noel Meade’s impressive Troytown winner Tout Est Permis heads the weights for the 110,000 euro Paddy Power Chase, with a total of 48 horses standing their ground.

Mengli Khan and Voix Du Reve feature among 11 horses confirmed for the Racing Post Novice Chase 24 hours earlier.

The two-mile-one-furlong contest is the Grade One feature on St Stephen’s Day and another mouth-watering renewal looks in prospect.

Having finished third in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March, Gordon Elliott’s Mengli Khan made an impressive start to his chasing career at Punchestown and he is set to step up in class over the festive period.

Elliott has also left in Duca De Thaix and Hardline.

The Mullins-trained Voix Du Reve did not scale the same heights over hurdles as Mengli Khan, but was thoroughly impressive on his fencing bow at Galway and followed up in the Grade Two Craddockstown Novice Chase at Punchestown.

Other contenders include Joseph O’Brien’s Drinmore runner-up Le Richebourg and Aidan Howard’s stable star Winter Escape.

The main supporting race on the first of four days at Leopardstown is the Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle.

Elliott’s pair of Chief Justice and Coeur Sublime are likely to renew rivalry after finishing first and second in a Grade Three at Fairyhouse at the start of the month and could be joined by three other stablemates in Coko Beach, Flat To The Max and Smiling Eliza.

Mullins has La Sorelita and Maze Runner in the mix, with Jessica Harrington’s Punchestown scorer Got Trumped also entered.

Footpad given green light for Christmas run
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