Alpha should be hard to beat

Chris Wilson has a tip for every race on Thursday, with Alpha Des Obeaux and Nichols Canyon fancied in Ireland.

DONCASTER: 12.25 Clic Work, 12.55 Work, 1.30 Bardd, 2.05 Kalane, 2.40 Ten Sixty, 3.10 Looking Well, 3.40 Miss Mash.

KELSO: 12.00 Blakerigg, 12.30 Blue Kascade, 1.05 Black Ivory, 1.40 Caraline, 2.15 Paper Roses, 2.45 Marlee Massie, 3.20 Late Date.

LEOPARDSTOWN: 12.20 I Knew Well, 12.50 Battleford, 1.20 Let's Dance, 1.55 Alpha Des Obeaux, 2.30 Nichols Canyon, 3.05 Exactoris, 3.35 Quick Grabim.

LIMERICK: 12.05 Pylonthepressure, 12.35 Benie Des Dieux, 1.10 Crest, 1.45 Penhill, 2.20 Swift, 2.50 Moores Road, 3.25 Nick Lost.

SOUTHWELL: 11.45 Goldslinger, 12.15 Bridey's Lettuce, 12.45 Hydrant, 1.15 Dusty Bin, 1.50 Oakley Pride, 2.25 Loveatfirstsight, 3.00 CLUBLAND (NAP), 3.30 Gettin' Lucky.

DOUBLE: Clubland and Kalane.

Leopardstown's Christmas Festival continues on Thursday, with Alpha Des Obeaux a horse to follow in the Neville Hotels Novice Chase.

Runner-up to a certain Thistlecrack in last season's World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, trainer Mouse Morris must be quite pleased with this one's progress over fences.

Already a Grade Three scorer, Alpha Des Obeaux turned in a nice performance in the Drinmore at Fairyhouse, when third behind Coney Island.

That two-and-a-half-mile Grade One was not ideal for the Gigginstown House Stud-owned six-year-old, who needs a longer trip to be at his best.

To that end, this three-mile trip looks absolutely made to measure and he can reverse form with Coney Island to score.

With Faugheen still on the sidelines, Nichols Canyon can add an eighth Grade One verdict to his tally in the Ryanair Hurdle.

The six-year-old sometimes gets a bit overlooked among the legion of stars Willie Mullins trains, but he very rarely runs a bad race and can be relied upon again.

Surprisingly beaten in America back in May, he bounced back to record a second successive victory in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown last month.

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In truth it would have been disappointing if he had been beaten in what was not a great renewal, but if nothing else he showed his engine is still intact and Mullins is in irresistible form.

Kalane perhaps holds the key to the Sheffield Greyhound Stadium Mares' Chase at Doncaster.

Trained in Newmarket by Amy Murphy, having previously been in the care of Charlie Longsdon, the seven-year-old is already a Listed winner over hurdles.

She is also going along nicely over fences and did more than enough at this track on December 10 to warrant support in the same grade.

Kalane was an encouraging fourth on her comeback at Market Rasen, but the manner in which she made every yard of the running in a two-mile-three-furlong handicap chase on Town Moor a few weeks ago was impressive.

Murphy's inmate dotted up by a carefree 17 lengths, and though this is tougher, she will surely take some hauling back under similarly bold tactics.

Caraline appeals as a likely sort in the Monteith Memorial Handicap Chase at Kelso.

The five-year-old notched up four wins on the bounce last season, shooting up from a mark of 80 to 121 over fences, although that final mark proved a bit beyond her at Newcastle back in March.

Dropped 1lb to 120 for the start of the current campaign, she posted a fair fourth on her return, but that defeat has seen her eased another 1lb in the ratings which is a definite plus.

Caraline should strip much fitter for her return and can start to make her mark once again here.

Clubland can banish memories of a chastening experience at Southwell on his most recent outing when he returns to Nottinghamshire for the Betway Sprint Handicap.

Despite having been the subject of plenty of market support in the build-up to a six-furlong handicap on December 13, little went right for the seven-year-old son of Red Clubs.

Clubland was slowly away under Tom Marquand, and never really recovered from that as he beat a few labouring horses into a moderate seventh of 11.

Before that, though, he had been running pretty well in three tries on the Newcastle Tapeta so all hope is most certainly not lost.

Trainer Garry Moss will be more aware than anyone that his representative has won five times at Southwell, with two of those triumphs over this five-furlong trip.

Moreover, a year-long barren spell has left him well-handicapped on an all-weather mark of 67, which is a whopping 13lb lower than when he last won a race.

It could be a profitable afternoon for Stockton-based Moss, who might also fancy Dusty Bin's chances in the 32Red Casino Nursery Handicap.

The two-year-old gelding has held his form well since winning a Redcar nursery in October, and was only denied by a short head at Newcastle on his first start for Moss on December 16.

Dusty Bin stayed on stoutly that day, so the step up to a mile should suit him nicely if that good show is taken into account.

Kieran O'Neill's partner must shoulder top weight, but this is, frankly, a poor race and one that could be there for the taking.

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