Top Trainers Set To Clash In Valuable Paddy Power Steeplechase


Tuesday, December 06, 2016
cause of causes 1

Cause Of Causes - Edward Whitaker


Gordon Elliott is making a big power play for the top staying handicap chases and this season’s current leading trainer is responsible for 11 of the 57 entries as he attempts to win the Paddy Power Steeplechase for the first time at Leopardstown on Tuesday, December 27th.

Cause Of Causes (25/1), winner of the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March is the highest rated of his team on 11st 9lbs as he bids to improve on his runner-up spot in the race three years ago. Elliott could also call on last year’s runner-up and subsequent Aintree Grand National sixth Ucello Conti (7/1); who is favourite with Paddy Power, the race sponsor and has been allotted 11st 4lbs as well as the recent Troytown Handicap Chase fourth Noble Endeavor (10/1) on 11st 3lbs.

Willie Mullins saddled Rockyaboya to beat Cause Of Causes in 2013 and he has made six entries for the most valuable race of the four-day Leopardstown Christmas Festival. A winner at the Punchestown Festival in April,Pleasant Company(14/1) looks to head the champion trainer’s team on 11st 8lbs while Sambremont(16/1) with 10st 11lbs, The Crafty Butcher(10/1) (10st 1lb) and New Kid In Town(33/1) (9st 11lbs) could also figure. 

Mouse Morris won the race with Rawhide in 1990 and again with New Co six years later. His entries include Folsom Blue (20/1) (10st 4lbs) who came third in the race last year, Dromnea (25/1) (10st 8 lbs) and recent Irish Grand National winners Rogue Angel (33/1) and Thunder and Roses(20/1) who both hold weights of 11st 3lbs. Shutthefrontdoor(25/1) is another Irish Grand National winner in the field and he is one of four British-trained entries. Jonjo O’Neill’s nine-year-old is set to carry 11st 8lbs with Nicky Richards’ Bernardelli (33/1) on 10st 9lbs while Otago Trail (20/1), who tops the weights on 11st 10lbs and Potters Cross  (33/1) (10st 2lbs) may carry the hopes of Venetia Williams and Rebecca Curtis respectively.

Tony Martin won the Paddy Power Chase with Living Next Door in 2014 and he could be represented by both Gallant Oscar(14/1) (11st 8lbs) and White Arm (33/1)  (8st 9lbs) while Tom Taaffe could justifiably have high hopes for last month’s Punchestown winner Rogue Trader (20/1) who is on 11st 3lbs. Abolitionist (20/1), trained by Ellmarie Holden and Noel Meade’s Bonny Kate(14/1) chased home Empire Of Dirt in the Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan and with 10st 8lbs and 10st 11lbs are other notable entries.

Pat Keogh, Chief Executive of Leopardstown Racecourse, said, “This is one of the races of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival that is always an amazing spectacle with large competitive fields of around 28 guaranteed runners, and this year is no exception. We have had eight Christmas Festival races closing for entries in the past few days and the quality of the horses set to line up at Leopardstown is simply outstanding.”      

This is one of the races of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival that is always an amazing spectacle with large competitive fields of around 28 guaranteed runners, and this year is no exception

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