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advising selections on which to wager, since March 2010.

Monday, 26 December 2016

God bless George Michael

This is it - possibly the busiest day of horseracing in the calendar. 

We have meetings at Fontwell, Huntingdon, Kempton, Market Rasen, Sedgefield, Wetherby and Wincanton; and Irish meetings at Down Royal, Leopardstown, and Limerick. All the racing is going ahead, it will be incredibly busy.

One other service I use on such a day as this is Mal Boyle's Stat Attack on the Sporting Life website but it can take some finding there - so if you visit @malcolmboyle2 on twitter there is a link on one of his tweets and I have retweeted that link this morning.

Plenty to choose from, so I will be sticking to those races of Class 3 or better, and I will start with the 3-mile Rowland Meyrick Chase at WETHERBY at 1:50pm. This race looks to be between the 3 market leaders of BlaklionYala Enki and Definitly Red, as the remainder look outclassed other that Wakanda who has slipped to a reasonable OR149 rating but he has not run well for 12 months now, and we need to see some improvement. I think Blaklion is rated to his ability but he will run to his rating. I just wonder if Yala Enki was flattered at Haydock when winning LTO in the fog - did his rivals let him slip the field? 
For me, Definitly Red is the most likely winner and odds of 5/1 look fair. Yes, he was well beaten by Blaklion last Feb over C&D but that was on heavy ground which suited Blaklion but not Definitly Red, who I believe will run considerably better on good-to-soft ground. 

At 3:00pm, the Class 3 handicap chase over 2m3f looks an interesting opportunity as if Astracad can repeat his Cheltenham form (he didn't enjoy the Aintree "National" fences LTO) then he is chucked in here off OR134. I have no confidence in any of the market leaders making a decent race of it.

At WINCANTON the 2-mile handicap chase at 1:05pm only has 5-runners but there is a competitive look to it. Even so, Dusky Lark should be too good for these over a trip that is a touch on the short side for him but he is fit and in form which counts for a lot. Odds of 7/4 are not generous and he could be one for a Boxing Day "yankee".

At 3:25pm we have a 3-mile class 3 chase and the early fav is the one-raced chase novice Expedite who fell on his chase debut. The 2nd-fav is Ardkilly Witness who hasn't won in two years but looked capable of winning off this mark LTO. A course winner who stays the trip and will handle the soft ground, he looks interesting. Bear Rails does not look a 3-miler, and I'm not sure Sonny The One is either though he should run better in this as he's race fit now. The remainder look outclassed other than Dawson City who ran a cracker here last January over a slightly longer trip. He ran well again in March and possibly needed the run LTO in Nov when he met some top novice chasers and was outclassed. This is the only runner today for trainer Polly Gundry and she may have found an opening here.

At MARKET RASEN there is the 3m3f Lincolnshire National at 2:20pm and early fav Grove Silver does not look a marathon trip horse. Ultimatum Du Roy has never run well at Class 3 or better and he isn't good enough. Both Fill The Power and Godsmejudge need to turn back time to re-find former glories, although both will stay this trip but how well? The trip is an issue for most in this race, so we could have an unexpected winner; however the unexposed Gonalston Cloud is also guaranteed to stay the trip if fit enough and he has had the benefit of a recent run. 

There is a terrific card at KEMPTON and the Novice handicap chase at 1:30pm could be a cracker. The Henderson trained Gold Present looks a potential top class chaser and Henderson has won this race 5 times in the last 10 years, and having to concede 12lb to Poker School looks a big ask; however I reckon Gold Present has more scope. 

The Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle at 2:40pm is tricky to assess but I think The New One should be able to confirm his recent good form was no fluke and take this race.  The odds of 7/4 are not great, but he's another who should be part of a Boxing Day yankee. As for the feature race of the afternoon, the King George VI Chase at 3:15pm, Cue Card should beat his stablemate Thistlecrack - not because he is the better horse, but because he is a more experienced chaser. There will be no hiding places in this race and Thistlecrack cannot afford to make a single error. Irrespective of the result, Thistlecrack will almost certainly run in the Gold Cup in March unless he his absolutely annihilated in this race, which I cannot see happening.  Odds of 5/4 about Cue Card look generous.

Lots of opportunities and I am having a personal "Boxing Day win Yankee" on
Wincanton 1:05pm - Dusky Lark @ 13/8
Kempton 1:30pm - Gold Present @ 7/2
Kempton 2:40pm - The New One @ 7/4
Wetherby 1:50pm - Definitly Red @ 5/1

A tricky day for a wager, but DAWSON CITY could have found an opening here at Wincanton in the 3:25pm at the generous odds of 8/1.

Wincanton 3:25pm DAWSON CITY, £5 eachway @ 8/1

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