We’ve teamed up with BetVictor’s Charlie McCann to preview the day’s racing.
As we suggested earlier in the week the Kempton executive expect good to soft ground for their Boxing Day card and Might Bite remains 11/4 favourite at BetVictor. The Nicky Henderson-trained runner had a hard race in the Gold Cup but should really be unbeaten going right-handed, he fell at the last in the Feltham when clear two years ago. I feel he should be given the chance to show his Haydock reappearance was just a bad day at the office.
It wasn’t long ago that the south west tracks were bemoaning the lack of rain but what a difference a month makes and the ground is described as heavy ahead of today’s decent card at Exeter. Evidence De Thaix (12.40) was a beaten favourite at Lingfield on his seasonal reappearance having won two of her three starts on the level in non-thoroughbred races in her native France. This stiff track should suit the Philip Hobbs-trained mare and her Lingfield run was her first in nearly 500-days.
Hugh Nugent takes off a valuable 7lbs from Shalakar (1.10) who made a promising reappearance last month for Venetia Williams’ at a time when the yard had not yet hit top form. The selection has a good record going right-handed and I would be disappointed if he didn’t run very well despite the steadier of 11st 10lbs.
The Kings Writ (1.40) was on the verge of doing us a 12/1 favour when coming down at the last when clear at Chepstow last time and he has been raised 6lbs for that unlucky run.
That said he would have won with an additional 6lbs on his back in south Wales and Harry Cobden takes over in the saddle this afternoon. Le Boizelo has failed to complete in his last couple of starts but he is a decent sort when he puts it all together and James Best, who rode The Kings Writ last time, is in the saddle.
Dalila Du Seuil (2.10) makes her British debut in the colours of JP McManus for Harry Fry having cost over £200,000 Gns when sold last November.
Her subsequent absence from the track is a slight concern, but she was only beaten 20l in a grade 1 at Auteuil. She jumped to the right in her native France on occasions and today’s conditions ought to be ideal – she is, arguably – the most interesting runner on the card.
Well Above Par (12.30) is likely to be all the rage for the opening contest at Hexham having scored over C&D last week and he is 4lbs ‘well-in’ despite running under a 7lbs penalty this afternoon. That said he is likely to be short enough and the each way vote goes to Glittering Love (12.30) a winner of four of his five points and he begins life in handicap chasers off a very moderate mark courtesy of some ordinary hurdles form. It is possible that he may improve switching his attentions to the larger obstacles.
Connections dispensed with the headgear for McGinty’s Dream (2.30) when he was just run out of it over C&D last week and he makes a quick reappearance this afternoon looking for a second career win. The selection has been raised 5lbs for that effort but can run off his old mark this afternoon. If in the same mood he looks sure to run well.
There is a £50,000 three-year-old handicap at Chelmsford this evening and the progressive Given Choice (8.00) is the each way selection for the inform Simon Crisford yard. The selection won over 10f here on her last start from a 4lbs higher mark, but this lightly-raced filly has won over 1m 4f previously and she has hinted that this stiffer test (1m 6f) may see her in an even better light. Josie Gordon takes the ride.
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