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2020 Matheson Hurdle Tips - 9/2 shot can Tower over Leopardstown rivals
- We preview the 2020 renewal of the Matheson Hurdle
- This Grade One headlines the fourth and final day of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival
- Saint Roi and Abacadabras square off again after clashing in the Morgiana Hurdle
- Aspire Tower is our tip in the Matheson Hurdle at 9/2
Leopardstown races. (Getty)
Day four of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival is headlined by the Matheson Hurdle. This two-mile Grade One has been won by greats like Istabraq, Brave Inca and Hurricane Fly, and a classy field of entrants will line up in the 2020 renewal.
Let's take a look through the current betting and pick out our best bet.
2020 Matheson Hurdle Odds
*Odds taken from Betfair on 24/12/20*
2020 Matheson Hurdle Tips
Saint Roi and Abacadabras renew rivalries again, after just a neck separated the two at the line in the Morgiana Hurdle. Abacadabras claimed the bragging rights that day, but I think Saint Roi came out of the race with more credit.
Willie Mullins' County Hurdle winner was keen as mustard throughout and didn't seem to enjoy the heavy ground. Having battled to settle his mount throughout the race, Mark Walsh was forced to jink right after the final flight, but was slowly reeling in Abacadabras on the run to the line.
Abacadabras is the better jumper and traveller of the two, but seems to idle when he hits the front. Gordon Elliott's charge was still swinging when he hit the front in both the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, and again in the WKD Hurdle on his reappearance, but got beat on both occasions.
Given a more settled passage and a clean path to the post, I think Saint Roi would have beaten Abacadabras at Punchestown. Yet, I'm going to side against both of them, along with two-time defending Champion Sharjah, and back ASPIRE TOWER in the 2020 Matheson Hurdle.
I'm always hesitant to back precocious juveniles during their second seasons over hurdles. As Abacadabras and Jason The Militant pulled upsides Henry De Bromhead's front-runner in the WKD Hurdle, I was expecting Aspire Tower to fade. The exact opposite happened. Aspire Tower found an extra gear on the run to the line, and left Abacadabras floundering four lengths adrift.
Rachael Blackmore's mount bolted up in the Frank Knight at this meeting last year, winning by 18 lengths. Aspire Tower was still leading approaching the last in the Grade One Spring Juvenile Hurdle here in February, only to fall at the final flight.
That tumble seemed to knock his confidence in the Triumph Hurdle, where Aspire Tower jumped poorly, but still had enough strength to stay on and claim second. Aspire Tower can jump out to his left early on, but that won't be an issue around this left-handed track and he seems to do his best work on the run to the line.