Not Long Now.
I am sure you all have enough to do at the moment, so have kept the waffle to a minimum this week. to allow full concentration on the main event.
So, the wait for the big day is almost over. Yep, Boxing Day racing is on the horizon and like most years it looks like being worth the wait. Ten meetings of differing quality seven in England and three in Ireland. Wherever you are there is a decent opportunity to get out in the fresh air and see some live sport. If you cannot attend there is always the telly coverage… just turn the sound off… sometimes the coverage is like paralysis by analysis.
Selection – 3:05 Kempton – Ladbrokes King George VI Chase
Ok the turkey is wrapped; the presents are in the oven. How’s that for an each way double Missus? as Ken Dodd would say, time to have a look through a couple of races for Sunday. The obvious place to start is the mid-winter highlight the Grade 1 King George V1 chase at Kempton Park. A cracking field including the last two winners both from the Nicholls yard Clan Des Obeaux and Frodon and the current Gold Cup holder Minella Indo over from Ireland. These three will head the market and it will be interesting to see who starts favourite come 3.05pm. I am tempted to take a chance on another Irish runner the Willie Mullins’ grey Asterion Forlonge who was going well when he stumbled three out and unseated Brian Cooper last time out in the Grade 1 John Durkan at Punchestown. It would have been fascinating to see how the race panned out if he had stayed on his feet as the winner Allaho was all out at the line… but that’s racing. The seven-year-old has always been prone to the odd error and his jumping will be tested in this contest but if Willie Mullins thinks his lad is up to this grade who am I to disagree.
1. Asterion Forlonge
Also, at Kempton the third race gives us an opportunity to see if the great hope of the North Ahoy Senor is as good as Lucinda Russell and Peter Scudamore hope he is. Only four declared and it should be a match between Senor and Bravemansgame from the Nicholls yard. Fingers crossed for these two promising youngsters as they go head to head.
Selection – 2:10 Wetherby – William Hill Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase
Wetherby’s Rowland Meyrick Handicap doesn’t attract the quality of yesteryear…. shut the old waffler up I hear from the back…but it is still a good three-mile chase. I used to be a regular at this fixture but since they moved the jumps course to the inside the fences seem to be less severe and they don’t provide the stern test which used to be associated with the Yorkshire track, so am now an armchair spectator. The Ladbroke Trophy winner Cloudy Glen is entered off his new mark of 150 which will be a tester for him after his Newbury triumph. I could never catch this gelding right last season when I really fancied him for the Welsh Grand National. Venetia Williams has perhaps turned the corner with him and ironed out his quirks so Sunday should give us a clue. However, I am prepared to give another chance to Sandy Thomson’s seven-year-old Empire Steel who ran a good race first time up at Haydock behind the bang in form Strictlyadancer. Thomson’s charge had some reasonable novice form last season, he is only up 1lb for his Haydock second and allowing for the added fitness edge a forecast price of around 7/1 looks ok.
1. Empire Steel
Don’t forget the Welsh National on Monday. A bit early as I type to know what is declared but I like the look of …. here we go again… Venetia Williams’ Hold That Taught if he is declared. He stayed on strongly up the hill at Carlisle last time and as he is only six there should be bags of improvement to come. What a pity there will be no punters to enjoy the spectacle.
Sad to note that the old warrior Top Cees who was a headliner in his day has died aged 31 Top Cees was a dual Chester Cup winner and was at the centre of an infamous libel trial back in 1998. He also won the Cesarewitch on the Flat and a Coral Cup over hurdles, he must have been a delight to own and lived out a happy retirement in Lincolnshire. Thanks for the memories.
That’s it for the Festive season so have a great holiday, hopefully Santa brings you all a sack full of winners.
Back to the brussels everyone…
Have a good one.
Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.