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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Three face-offs to get excited about on Saturday at Leopardstown

Yorkhill: bids to get back on track but faces a tough test from stablemate Min
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The first Dublin Racing Festival is shaping up to be an instant classic. Here's three clashes to savour on day one of the fixture on Saturday


Yorkhill vs Min
Coral Dublin Chase (1.45)

Is Yorkhill a Champion Chaser? This race should answer that question as the eight-year-old comes back in trip in a bid to bring clarity to his Cheltenham Festival target.

He will be looking to banish memories of a disappointing run in the Christmas Chase at the track last month, as will stablemate Min, who may have crossed the line first in a course and distance Grade 1, but was demoted to second after interfering with Simply Ned.

Nicky Richards is sending his veteran back over for another crack at the Mullins masses, and if either are not up to the job, the 11-year-old could enjoy another successful foray.

Footpad vs Petit Mouchoir
Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase (2.20)

Considered a festival banker in some quarters, and according to bookmakers, is the Arkle Footpad's to lose at Cheltenham?

Unbeaten in two starts over fences, Saturday's race promises to be Footpad's biggest test so far as he renews rivalries with Petit Mouchoir.

Henry de Bromhead's runner defeated Footpad in the Irish Champion Hurdle last season, and was also a place ahead in the Champion Hurdle.

Speaking at the weekend, Anthony Bromley, racing manager for Footpad's owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, thinks Petit Mouchoir will offer a true test.


Faugheen vs Melon
BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle (3.30)

A huge race with potentially just as seismic consequences, the racing world is on tenterhooks to see if Faugheen can return to his imperious best.

Nothing has come to light for his baffling run when pulled up at Leopardstown last month, and Willie Mullins admits that Saturday's race is a make-or-break outing.

Faugheen: crucial run, regarding his Cheltenham prospects, at Leopardstown on Saturday
Happily for Mullins, should Faugheen fail to fire, he still has the most likely winner of the race with Melon a more than able deputy.

Only six, he lost little in defeat to My Tent Or Yours and The New One at Cheltenham on his last start, and if still improving, could take a hand in the Champion Hurdle.


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This race should answer a lot of questions as Yorkhill comes back in trip in a bid to bring clarity to his Cheltenham Festival target
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