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Leopardstown Christmas Festival: All you need to know

The Leopardstown Christmas Festival is an annual event, with the four-day meeting offering up the very best of National Hunt racing.

The December event stages no less than seven Grade 1 races, including the Future Champions Hurdle, the Savills Chase and the Matheson Hurdle.

Leopardstown Christmas Festival date

This is always a post-Christmas event that runs from Boxing Day until 29th December, providing some of the best National Hunt action of the year.

In 2023, the first day is on Tuesday 26th December and the action will run until the fourth and final day on Friday 29th December.

Leopardstown Christmas Festival venue

The Festival takes place at Leopardstown racecourse in Dun Laoghaire–Rathdown, 8km south of Dublin's city centre, with the track staging both National Hunt and Flat racing.

Built by Captain George Quin and modelled on Sandown Park Racecourse, the left-handed oval track is one mile and six furlongs in distance with an uphill finishing straight.

Flat races are run over distances ranging from five furlongs to 20 furlongs and are started from stalls, while National Hunt racing are contested over at least 2 miles and are started at a tape barrier.

Leopardstown Christmas Festival how to watch

All the festive racing from Britain and Ireland is available to watch via the bet365 Sports Live Streaming platform.

All the races from Leopardstown's four-day Christmas Festival will also be broadcast on Racing TV, while ITV will be showing selected action from days three (28th) and four (29th).

Leopardstown Christmas Festival day one

The opening day of the Festival is called St. Stephen's Day and this is one of the highlights in the racing and social calendar in Dublin.

A seven-race card kicks off proceedings on Boxing Day and The Racing Post Novice Chase (Grade 1) is the feature event on day one.

Set over 2m 1f, Ferny Hollow claimed the spoils in 2021 to give Willie Mullins an eighth victory before Saint Roi gave the trainer yet another winner in the race last year.

Other previous winners include the likes of Sizing Europe, Min, Douvan and Moscow Flyer, so this is sure to provide plenty of clues in terms of searching for stars of the future.

Leopardstown Christmas Festival day two 

The second day is packed full of top-class action and there is no less than two Grade 1 races to get stuck into, leaving equestrian enthusiasts spoiled for choice.

The Paddy's Rewards Club Chase is one of those, a race that has been won by stars such as Chacun Pour Soi and Douvan over the years.

In 2021, Rachael Blackmore steered Envoi Allen to victory for trainer Henry de Bromhead, taking his tally to three wins, while it was Mullins’ Blue Lord that rose to prominence last season.

In the other Grade 1 on the day - the Future Champions Novice Hurdle - it was Mighty Potter who crossed the line first in 2021 under the guidance of Jack Kennedy.

Mullins is the most successful trainer in the history of this race with seven victories, most recently with Facile Vega routing the opposition 12 months ago under a cool ride from Paul Townsend,

Leopardstown Christmas Festival day three

Onto the third day, which is Savills Day, and the feature race is the Grade 1 Savills Chase.

A target for all the leading yards, this race is run over a distance of about 3 miles and there are no less than 17 fences to be jumped.

Michael Hourigan is the most successful trainer in the history of this event, landing five winners, while Paul Carberry's four victories has him atop of the jockey standings.

Gordon Elliott has won it in back-to-back years with Conflated winning the showpiece race last season to emulate the achievements of Galvin, who came out on top in 2021.

The likes of A Plus Tard, Delta Work, Kemboy and Tidal Bay have all claimed the spoils in previous years and this is a key preparation race for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

Leopardstown Christmas Festival day four

Wrapping up the Christmas Festival is Matheson Hurdle Day and the feature race is the Grade 1 Matheson Hurdle; a race associated with some of the greatest 2m hurdlers.

Staged over a distance of about 2 miles, Istabraq, Hurricane Fly and Sharjah have all won this race four times, the latter winning for a fourth straight year in 2021 and becoming the only horse to achieve that feat.

Sharjah lost his crown last year and could finish only third behind progressive stablemate State Man, who led home a 1-2-3 for Mullins with subsequent Royal Ascot winner Vauban splitting the pair.

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