Vroum Vroum Mag Too Good For Opposition in Christmas Hurdle
Leopardstown’s card on Wednesday featured two Grade 1 contests – the Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle at 1.50pm and just over an hour later the Lexus Chase which was expected to produce Ireland’s leading contender for next March’s Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The Willie Mullins-trained Vroum Vroum Mag was sent off a warm 8-15 favourite to get back to winning ways in the former contest after losing her unbeaten record since joining the Closutton stable when just outpointed by Apple’s Jade at Fairyhouse earlier this month and the decision to stay at home rather than take on the likes of Yanworth and The New One in Kempton’s race of the same name on Boxing Day was justified as the daughter of Voix Du Nord proved too good for the opposition, although stablemate Shaneshill was still in with a chance when falling at the final flight after being narrowly headed by the winner.
Just where the seven-year-old ends up at the festival is anyone’s guess as bookmakers quote the mare for just about every contest other than the boat race. A general 16-1 chance for the StanJames.com Champion Hurdle, a top price 25-1 with Paddy Power for the Betway Champion Chase and a standout 66-1 with that sponsor for the Timico Gold Cup, although realistically it is more likely the horse will end up in either the Ryanair Chase, Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle or Mares’ Hurdle.
A best price 10-1 with Betway to go back over fences for the Ryanair and two points shorter with Betfred and Ladbrokes for the stayers’ championship contest, Free Bets has found that Vroum Vroum Mag is only a 9-4 shot with Betfred, Skybet and Paddy Power to repeat this year’s victory in the mares’ race on the opening day and at this stage that looks her’s for the taking should market rivals Annie Power and Apple’s Jade head for the Champion Hurdle on the same day.
Backed as if defeat was out of the question, 5-4 favourite Djakadam was expected to enhance his Gold cup claims after finishing runner up in the last two renewals of that race, by taking the Lexus Chase but the mount of Ruby Walsh despite holding every chance jumping the last was comprehensively outpointed by Outlander with another Gigginstown runner Don Poli splitting the pair. The result saw Thistlecrack harden into odds-on with many bookmakers for the Timico-sponsored championship contest while Djakadam can be backed at 16-1 with Ladbrokes, nine points shorter than the 25-1 currently available with Betway about Gordon Elliott’s Lexus hero.