Leopardstown betting tips: Apple’s Jade, Gun Digger and Pleasant Company are Friday fancies for day 3 of Christmas Festival

Leopardstown betting tips for December 28 and day three of the Christmas Festival from Horsebetting.com experts rate Apple’s Jade the NAP of this seven-race card in the 3m Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle. Gun Digger, meanwhile, is the next best bet in the 2m 5f beginners chase. Pleasant Company looks a possible handicap blot in the 3m Pertemps Qualifier, so is each-way value. Find further details below in our detailed Leopardstown betting tips for December 28.

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Odds
4/6
NAP
Apple's Jade
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Odds
15/8
NB
Gun Digger
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Odds
5/1
E/W
Pleasant Company
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Apple’s Jade impossible to oppose in Christmas Hurdle

The 3m Christmas Hurdle is one of two Grade 1s on the third day of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival this Friday (13:50). Despite Faugheen stepping back up to the trip that seems to suit him best these days, Apple’s Jade is getting weight all-round and can’t be opposed as she is bang in-form.

Gordon Elliott’s charge is one of the best mares in modern times, and won this 12 months ago when produced late and scoring by half-a-length. This Giggninstown House Stud owned six-year-old has a 67 per cent career strike rate and always made the frame in 18 starts.

Apple’s Jade has taken the exact same path to this race as 12 months ago, readily winning again on reappearance in the Grade 2 Lismullen Hurdle at Navan before following-up even more impressively in the Hatton’s Grace at Fairyhouse both over 2m 4f. She stays this trip no problem, however, and has re-opposing duo Bapaume and Jezki well held on all known form.

Taking the 7lb sex allowance Apple’s Jade receives from all six rivals in this renewal into account, there is nothing to choose between her and Faugheen on adjusted ratings. However, her wide-margin victories mark her out as something special and she’s four years younger than her one-time Willie Mullins trained stablemate.

It’s thus Apple’s Jade, despite her short price who looks the one to be on and become just the third dual winner of the Christmas Hurdle. She is readily put up as the NAP of our Leopardstown betting tips for December 28.

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Gun Digger also worth a bet

Elsewhere on the card, there’s a 2m 5f beginners chase (13:20) and Gun Digger can make it third time lucky over fences after twice going close. Also trained by Elliott, this six-year-old has gone down by three lengths on both his starts this season.

This son of Stowaway won one of his seven hurdles outings last term and ran some solid races in defeat. Gun Digger was fourth to Getabird in a Punchestown maiden over 2m 4f last December and then landed a novice event at Down Royal three starts later before chasing home Blow By Blow in a Grade 3 at Thurles.

Although he then failed to fire when stepped up in trip for his last two starts of the campaign, there was lots to like about his return to action when running on from fifth to third on chase debut at Gowran Park in November. Gun Digger then went one better earlier this month when beaten by the same margin but second to Chris’s Dream, keeping on well up the extended run-in.

The winner was a previous wide-margin Grade 3 novice hurdle victor and sent off 6/1 for the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival off the back of it. Gun Digger pulled seven lengths clear of the third home, so the form has a solid look to it.

While Bacardys is in opposition and has better hurdles form, his chase outings leave a lot to be desired. Jack Kennedy is back on board Gun Digger, so he can continue his improvement in this sphere here and is thus the next best bet of our Leopardstown betting tips for December 28.

Pleasant Company appeals each-way

Grand National second Pleasant Company is astonishingly a maiden over hurdles and makes his reappearance in a 3m Pertemps Qualifier earlier on the card (12:45). Given his chase mark is 26lb higher than his rating over the smaller obstacles, he looks a potential handicap blot and each-way value in a big 23-runner field that clearly suits.

Trained by Irish champion Mullins, the 10-year-old son of Presenting won the Grade B Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase at the 2016 Punchestown Festival by three-quarters of a length off 139. Pleasant Company also scored in the 2017 Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse before finishing ninth in last year’s Aintree showpiece.

He was trained for the Grand National again last season, making modest late headway in the Paddy Power Chase when a not knocked about 14th to Anibale Fly at this meeting 12 months ago. Although then pulled up in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park in January, Pleasant Company was just denied a head by Tiger Roll in the big one.

It was an agonising defeat for connections and one that has earned him a career high chase mark of 154. That makes Pleasant Company a horse that is almost two stone better over fences than hurdles on paper, and it’s too great a disparity to be ignored by punters.

Connections clearly mean business on this lightly-raced sort as Ruby Walsh takes the ride. In a typically wide-open race for the series, Pleasant Company is thus well worth chancing each-way now returning over the smaller obstacles. He completes our Leopardstown betting tips for December 28.

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