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Donall Farmer/INPHO Denis O'Regan aboard Living Next Door wins the Chase
# Christmas Races
Day of tight finishes as Living Next Door lands the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown
President Michael D Higgins was in attendance on the second day of racing.

Updated 15.30

THE ODDS BOOK continued to be ripped up on the second day of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival as Denis O’Regan rode Living Next Door to the Paddy Power Chase while Willie Mullins’ Twinlight was the surprise winner of the Dial-a-Bet Steeplechase.

In conditions considerably better than the wind and rain on St Stephen’s Day, 20/1 shot Living Next Door edged out top weight Foxrock by a length and a quarter.

Foxrock, ridden by Adrian Heskin, pushed all the way but Living Next Door cleared the final fence to stride home and land the €106,800 cheque for trainer AJ Martin.

Vics Canvas finished third while The Job Is Right was fourth.

In the Paddy Power Dial-a-Bet Chase, 16/1 shot Twinlight – ridden by Paul Townend – held off Hidden Cyclone down the home straight to record a four and three-quarter length success.

Hidden Cyclone, with Andrew McNamara on board, led for much of the Grade One contest but tired after the final fence.

Simply Ned claimed third but last year’s winner Ballycasey and the pre-race favourite Uxizandre put in disappointing runs.

Horse Racing - 2014 Leopardstown Christmas Festival - Day Two - Leopardstown Racecourse PA Wire / Press Association Images Paul Townend returned to the parade ring as he rode Twinlight to victory PA Wire / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Twinlight has now been cut from 33/1 to 20/1 by bookmakers for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March.

“At Cork I had said to Paul [Townend] ‘I want you to go down the inner and just wing your fences’ and two or three other horses kept up to him,” Mullins told RTÉ.

“I said to Paul today, to do the same, and he said he wanted to change the plan. Paul said ‘no, I want to go the outside’.

“They went such a gallop today that Paul was on the outside, on his own and I think at about halfway the horse started to enjoy it and if you look at, I think, the second fence down the back, he put in as big a jump as I ever saw around here and he landed running.”

Mullins was denied a second straight win as Sizing John took the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle for Henry De Bromhead.

Odds-on favourite Nichols Canyon unseated jockey Ruby Walsh in the 13.50, clearing the way for JJ Burke and Sizing John to stride home with a strong finish.

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It capped a spectacular 20-minute double for De Bromhead after Barry Geraghty landed the Desert Orchid Chase riding Special Tiara at Kempton.

Horse Racing - 2014 William Hill Winter Festival - Day Two - Kempton Park Steve Parsons Geraghty jumps the third fence to lead Special Tiara to victory at Kempton Steve Parsons

“There were a few incidents but it’s great to win and a nice bonus. Our lad nearly ran out went the loose horse came by him. I’m delighted for Johnny as it’s his first Grade One win,” De Bromhead said afterwards.

“I was disappointed with him at Gowran, but they told me Douvan is very highly regarded. I always thought he wanted better ground and the plan was to back off him after this and look to the spring.”

Earlier in the day at Leopardstown, hot favourite Silver Concorde was outshone by Blair Perrone in the Maiden Hurdle while JP McManus’ Shantou Ed held off Rock the World in the Handicap Hurdle.

At the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow, Emperor’s Choice fought off two other horses in the closing stretch to win.

Leopardstown Results, Saturday:

  • 12.20 - 1. Theophilus (4/1) 2. Hostile Fire (25/1) 3. Battle Hymn (14/1)
  • 12.50 -  1. Blair Perrone (10/1) 2. Silver Concorde (1/3) 3. Gladiator King (16/1)
  • 13.20 - 1. Twinlight (16/1) 2. Hidden Cyclone (7/1) 3. Simply Ned (9/1)
  • 13.50 – 1. Sizing John (11/1) 2. Sub Lieutenant (4/1) 3. Golantilla (6/1)
  • 14.20 – 1. Shantou Ed (8/1) 2. Rock the World (4/1) 3. Black Spot On (10/1)
  • 14.55 –  1. Living Next Door (20/1) 2. Foxrock (7/2) 3. Vics Canvas (14/1)
  • 15.30 – 1. Russian Bill (7/1) 2. Cappacon (8/1) 3. Nickname Exit (15/8)

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