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4 tips for the Leopardstown Christmas Festival - plus your €5 free bet
William Hill have got a special offer and Johnny Ward has picked out his best selections.

THE LEOPARDSTOWN CHRISTMAS Festival starts today and runs until Wednesday. 

Racing journalist Johnny Ward is here to preview the annual four-day meeting – which is going ahead behind closed doors for the second consecutive year – with his top tips alongside the latest prices.

Today and tomorrow only, William Hill are also offering a €5 free bet for new customers registering, exclusively available in the Republic of Ireland. 

a-view-of-riders-and-runners-in-the-irish-daily-star-christmas-handicap-hurdle Bryan Keane / INPHO Runners during last year's Leopardstown Christmas Festival. Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

Coeur Sublime 11/1, 1pt each-way – (Racing Post Novice Chase, 2.20 today)

davy-russell-on-coeur-sublime-davy-russell-on-coeur-sublime-during-the-rathbarry-glenview-studs-juvenile-hurdle Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Coeur Sublime. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

The King George is a cracker in Kempton but Irish eyes are on the Grade 1 Novice Chase (2.20) on Day 1. Over in Limerick, the Grade 1 is also a novice chase (2.40), and it’s a somewhat inconvenient truth that the pair dilutes the other. Ferny Hollow will be a hot favourite at ‘The Leop’. Sadly, Bob Olinger goes nowhere this Christmas.

Coeur Sublime looks the each-way value. It makes sense to go here rather than the maiden for which he is entered the following day.

It will cut up into a handful of runners and he produced an outstanding debut for Henry de Bromhead — trainer of Bob Olinger — when second to Ferny Hollow despite travelling better than him on his chase debut at Puncheststown.

He looks back to his best and, still only six, can at least make the first two. He’s available at 11/1 with William Hill.

Envoi Allen 2/1 - 1pt win (Paddy’s Rewards Clubs Chase, 1.10 Monday)

rachael-blackmore-onboard-envoi-allen-comes-home-to-win Declan Roughan / INPHO Envoi Allen and Rachael Blackmore. Declan Roughan / INPHO / INPHO

This is not necessarily a match, considering Chacun Pour Soi flopped in the King George, and Envoi Allen’s record for Henry de Bromhead is FP16.

Envoi Allen was sent off 7/4 in the John Durkan and he was not a bad run all told. I’m giving him once more chance at the prices, with Chacun Pour Soi beaten at 8/13 in two of his last three runs.

He was not Willie Mullins’ original number one here: Energumene was until he was pulled out. Expect Rachael Blackmore to be positive.

Sire Du Berlais – 5/1, 1pt each-way – (Leopardstown Christmas Hurdle, 1.10 Tuesday) 

eliece-elliott-onboard-sire-du-berlais Morgan Treacy / INPHO Eliece Elliott onboard Sire Du Berlais. Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

The fact Klassical Dream has not been seen this season casts doubts about him running in the big one, the Leopardstown Christmas Hurdle (1.10), on Day 3.

This is a pretty weak division at the moment and Sire Du Berlais is rock solid. Flooring Porter is not quite reliable enough to trust. A tricky horse (available at 9/4 with Hills), he may be taken on up front, and Sire Du Berlais can pick up the pieces.

He got to within almost four lengths of Flooring Porter at Cheltenham last year, ran a lovely race on his return and has everything in his favour for Gordon Elliott, who is in sensational form.

Run Wild Fred – 3/1, 1pt each-way (Neville Hotels Novice Chase, 1.45 Wednesday)

ricky-doyle-onboard-freewheelin-dylan-left-comes-home-to-win-ahead-of-jack-kennedy-onboard-run-wild-fred Morgan Treacy / INPHO Run Wild Fred (right), ridden by Jack Kennedy. Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

On the final day of Leopardstown’s four-afternoon extravaganza, it looks worth trusting Run Wild Fred to win the Grade 1 Novice Chase (1.45).

Going into the Troytown at Navan zero from eight over fences, one could have had reason to be doubtful, but last season’s Irish Grand National second did it in remarkably straightforward fashion.

After the race, the son of Shantou became favourite for the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham. On the day, Davy Russell didn’t disappoint and allowed him to bowl along at the head of the field after readily negotiating the first.

He was steadied into the last, a luxury Russell could afford given how far clear he was. His new rating of 159 is no exaggeration and that sets a high standard here, yet he will be an each-way price.

Odds above correct at the time of writing. William Hill free €5 bet valid for new customers registering from the Republic of Ireland on 26 and 27 December 2021. €5 free bet credited upon registration. Free bet expiry four days. Free bet winnings paid in cash. Free bet stake excluded from winnings. William Hill has the right to cancel or modify this promotion at any time without giving notice. General terms and conditions apply. 18+, always gamble responsibly. For more information, see 


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