LEOPARDSTOWN FINALE: The Christmas Festival at Leopardstown draws to an end today but there are two fantastic Grade 1 races to look forward to before the curtain comes down.

Melon might well be good enough to see off Samcro in this afternoon’s Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown.

The Willie Mullins trained runner won first time out last season and went on to run a blinder when pipped by a neck in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham won by Buveur D’Air.

Samcro has now been beaten three times since his win in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and was put in his place by Buveur D’Air in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle last time out.

He’s on a retrieval mission today but I’m never keen on taking short prices about horses with something again to improve. He looked the proverbial wonder horse earlier in his career but the truth might simply be that he may not be able to return to that kind of form and has plateaued.

Supasundae and Sharjah ensure it’s by no means a two horse race but Melon has the class and hopefully he will be fully tuned up to win this on his comeback.

NAP: Melon (2.30 Leopardstown)

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