Well, today (Boxing Day) was a complete wipeout from a betting perspective but was nonetheless thoroughly enjoyable.
What to take from the day?
- Dostal Phil duly won for Richard Johnson (without my money) at Fontwell and it turned out that Joshua Moore was the star jockey at the course with a three timer.
- Dilrow won the big Hunters’ Chase at Down Royal at 25/1, beating all the big names.
- Faugheen was an imperious winner of the Grade 1 novice chase with an exuberant jumping display that put Samcro in his place. I don’t for a moment accept that Samcro was below par, which means that the winner is a serious candidate in March, but in which race? Perhaps the 10/1 for the Marsh Novices’ Chase (formerly the JLT) is attractive?
- Mt Leinster dumped my selection Entoucas in authoritative style at Leopardstown.
- Aspire Tower was a dominant winner of the Knight Frank Juvenile and is now favourite for the Triumph (but I’d watch out for Goshen).
- Notebook (one of my three to watch in the race) was a dominant winner of the Leopardstown featured novice chase. I wouldn’t take too much from this. Mark Walsh lost an iron on Fakir D’Oudairies and Laurina suffered a burst blood vessel.
- Fred was an impressive winner of the opening novices’ hurdle at Kempton but I was encouraged by the impressive runner up, Ecco, who I’ll remain faith with.
- Slate House was a decent winner of the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase. It’s a shame that Master Tommytucker fell but he wasn’t looking like the winner at the time. Black Op didn’t live up to the hype – more of hype below – in the King George. This race didn’t produce a Festival winner.
- Epatante was an emphatic winner of a below standard Christmas Hurdle. The second and third were 11/1 and 14/1. Fusil Raffles was a big disappointment and has to be disregarded unless or until he progresses.
- Clan des Obeaux yet again proved the old maxim of horses for courses (and races).
The King George warrants a new paragraph. I was, as usual, excited during the running of it but, with the benefit of a few hours’ reflection, it was a disappointing race. Clan Des Obeaux did what many horses have shown in recent renewals – demonstrated that certain horses are very well suited to the race.
Clan Des Obeaux is a very good and progressive 7-y-o but he won’t win the Gold Cup and I think that Paul Nicholls knows that. This is his ideal race and he was an impressive winner. Course, distance and conditions suit perfectly and he should be aimed for this next year.
On to tomorrow!
No narrative after today’s disaster, just selections. I couldn’t resist just a few comments and one selection per meeting (underlined).
12:05 Saint D’Oroux (5/2)
12:35 Melon (11/10)
13:10 Chacun Pour Soi (2/5)
13:45 Abracadabras (4/7)
14:20 Moon Over Germany (8/1)
14:55 Chef Des Obeaux (40/1); Liveloughlaugh (20/1)
15:30 Ragnar Ladbrok (4/6)
13:25 (Hunters’ Chase) Winged Leader (evens)
14:00 Fury Road (11/10)
14:35 Colreevy (2/7) (WP horse in a maiden)
15:45 Getabay (7/4) (Jamie Codd in a bumper)
13:00 Tarada (4/9) (Hemmings hot pot – one to watch)
13:30 Goobinator (8/13) (Not a betting option but one I’ve been watching)
14:05 Hawk High (9/4) (I love this horse and really fancy him for this)
12:30 Cap Du Mathan (9/2) to beat big favourite Harry Senior (5/4)
13:35 This race could properly be called a hidden Grade 1. If you had to make a list of the Grade 1s, would you include it? Well, this year’s renewal has attracted a decent Joseph O’Brien horse in the shape of Cerberus (2/1), which is only second favourite behind the Skeltons’ Allmankind (11/10). He beat one of my selections today, A Wave Of The Sea, who was well beaten today (26 Dec) by Aspire Tower, so not overly enthusiastic but looking for a decent price, no more.
14:10 Clyne (6/1). I’m all over this one for what looks like an ideal race for him.
14:50 The Coral Welsh National. Elegant Escape is the appropriate favourite but Potters Corner (15/2) has been laid out for this and would be a great home winner for Christian Williams.
15:55 Jeremy Pass (9/4)
12:45 Homer (11/10) Exactly my sort of horse. Bought by Munir/Souede following outings in Longchamp, Clairefontaine and Saint-Cloud, and then placed with Henderson. An early closer for the Triumph Hurdle and currently trading at 20/1. I could continue with the breeding but…
13:20 The Wayward Lad. I love this race but, let’s face it, it’s not the best renewal. I’m a big fan of Al Dancer (3/1) so I have to stay with him, albeit with limited confidence.
13:55 Culture De Sivola (7/2)
14:30 Capeland (2/1)
15:05 Sametegal (11/2)