We’ve teamed up with BetVictor and Charlie McCann to preview the day’s racing.
What did we learn from a wonderful Boxing Day’s racing at Kempton? Well Faugheen is back and is a good thing - 4/5 at BetVictor - for back-to-back Champion Hurdles, Vautour will surely be aimed at the Ryanair rather than the Gold Cup, and is another Irish banker, and Cue Card is better than ever as he turns ten and is the sole realistic British challenger for the Gold Cup - 6/1 from 10s at BetVictor. Note Colin Tizzard reports he will go straight to the Festival.
The Grade one action comes from Leopardstown this afternoon with the Lexus Chase the feature over three miles. Sire Des Champs made an excellent comeback from long-term injury when scoring at Thurles last month and he did finish runner up to Bobs Worth in the Gold Cup back in 2013. He looks the danger but I am a massive Don Poli (3.05) fan and can’t see beyond last season’s RSA winner who made a successful reappearance at Aintree earlier in the month.
The selection has long been my idea of the 2016 Gold Cup winner and whilst this 3m trip is, arguably, on the sharp side he strikes me as being the type who will keep finding for pressure. Trainer Willie Mullins has suggested he would love to have a crack at the Grand National with his six-year-old one day but, surprisingly, he has never saddled the winner of the Lexus; until now. He makes little appeal from a betting proposition (1/2 at BetVictor) but he should break the Mullins Lexus hoodoo.
Mullins also saddles Tell Us More (1.20) in the Beginners’ Chase and this winning point-to-pointer has his first start since finishing in mid-division in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham back in March. Mullins won this corresponding race two years ago with Djakadam and he can take this informative and competitive contest with stablemate Blazer one of a number of realistic challengers.
If Arctic Fire stays three miles he will win the Christmas Hurdle but he can be a bit keen and Mags Mullins’ Martello Tower (1.55) gets the vote with more rain forecast. The election is another making his seasonal reappearance and has not been seen on the track since landing the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham back in March. That performance showed he is a real fighter and although he doesn’t have the class of Arctic Fire he is guaranteed to stay this demanding 3m.
The nap goes at Limerick where Domesday Book (1.05) runs in the Beginners’ Chase for Henry De Bromhead. The selection ran a race full of promise at Navan earlier in the month and he can pick up the four-year-old Chatham House Rule who looks sure to make it a real test.
They race at Leicester and a market move for Gold Ingot would be worth noting stepping back in trip but Supreme Asset (12.50) is undeniably very well handicapped on his best form and gets the vote for Donald McCain despite the fact that the stable’s inmates are largely hit and miss. The selection has won from an 8lbs higher mark in the past and Wayne Hutchinson is a positive booking.
Grade 1 winning jockey Lizzie Kelly takes a valuable 5lbs off the back of The Italian Yob (2.00) in the feature Chase and the selection should appreciate underfoot conditions. Great Link is a danger but might not want conditions as testing and the well handicapped Cloudy Bob continues to flatter to deceive.
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