Merry Christmas to readers of the blog, and let's hope today is a good one! It's the Boxing Day blog and there is a real feast of horseracing today. Big days like this give choosy punters a host of opportunities to find a winner and make a profit.
There are going to be plenty of changed plans and so a fair-few non-runners, so review your planned wagers as some races could end-up being very easy to find the winner in. There are meetings at Kempton, Wetherby, Sedgefield, Market Rasen, Fontwell, Huntingdon and Wincanton, as well as Leopardstown, Limerick and Down Royal in Ireland - so there is no need to just stick to the major, competitive races.
Some people reading this blog will be focusing on the feature race of the day, which is the "King George" Grade 1 chase at Kempton. This race takes a truly exceptional horse to win this aged 9yo or older; the last two horses to do that were Cue Card aged 9yo in 2015, and Kauto Star aged 11yo in 2011. As such, I have to go against the 9yo's Clan Des Obeaux, Frodon and Lostintranslation. The most likely winners of this race - in my opinion - are Chantry House and Minella Indo. At the official ratings, Minella Indo is head & shoulders above this field on OR175, and with 1st-time cheekpieces applied odds of 4/1 (and 9/2 with William Hill) look massive. The only "doubt" is that when winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Minella Indo showed form perhaps 15lb better than he's shown in any other race - hence why he started at 9/1 for that race. Trainer de Bromhead does not send many across the Irish Sea, but when he does we should take notice.
The other race I love on Boxing Day is the "Rowland Meyrick" handicap chase at Wetherby. There is a strong field for this Grade 3 chase over 3-miles, and again the majority of winners are aged no older than 8yo (the last "older winner being the 10yo According To Pete at 33/1 in 2011). So I'm happy to omit Top Ville Ben (9yo), Lake View Lad (11yo), Takingrisks (12yo), and Windsor Avenue (9yo) from calculations. This is a step-up in trip from 2m4f for Silver Hallmark, and I think odds of 5/2 are too short to consider him for this race. For me, it's Good Boy Bobby who was only just touched-off LTO at Newcastle. I also considered Empire Steel as trainer Sandy Thomson only has 2 runners today, both at Wetherby (the other is The Ferry Master in the chase at 1:00pm), but the form for this horse is difficult to assess. The Ladbroke Trophy Chase winner Cloudy Glen usually goes best fresh, and that win was a tough race for him.
There is an interesting mares' novice chase at Wincanton at 12:53pm over 2m4f; with just 6 runners. The fav is Precious Eleanor, but I think this one can be opposed as she's a bit one-paced. Trainer Nicky Henderson entered 3 for this race, and sends chase debutant Fantastic Lady who is well regarded by the stable. Jockey Tom Cannon has the ride, and he is 2 wins from 7 rides for Henderson in the past 5 years. This is more of a speculative selection, but as Henderson has only one other runner at Wincanton with a 7lb claimer riding, there may be something in this.
I love having wagers in 3-mile hurdle races as they can be very weak contests. At Fontwell at 12:32pm 3m2f hurdle race looks like a good opportunity. Khan won at Lingfield over 2m7f beating subsequent winner Dolphin Square (who had Certainly Red well behind when they met at Newbury). Khan was 3rd to the fav Not At Present when they met LTO, and on better terms and can reverse the placings this time. Odds of 7/2 are freely available (4/1 with Bet365).
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