“Got on a lucky one… came in 18/1….”
Merry Christmas dear readers! I hope everyone thoroughly enjoyed Christmas Day but it's good to get that nonsense out of the way to focus on the real highlight of the festive period – racing on Boxing Day. We're looking for a few fairytales today and with racing taking place at an incredible eleven (11) tracks across the UK and Ireland there are no shortage of possibilities. Let me narrow it all down for you as best I can…
My first tip comes over in Ireland at Leopardstown where MITCHOUKA looks the wrong price to me against the short priced favourite Espoir D'Allen. The favourite beat him easily enough last time but that was run at a slow pace with only a handful of runners. Today we should get a strongly run race and I think that opens it up for Mitchouka to turn the tables and I think they should be much closer in the betting than they are.
TOUCH KICK for Paul Nicholls is having just his 3rd start over fences and I think he was plenty of improvement in him. He looks like he has the makings of a good 3 mile chaser in time. I think he is too big a price and with 8 runners we can have a nice each way bet.
Black Corton has solid and consistent form but he can't keep on improving the way he has done since the summer and I think BALLYOPTIC is the one that has the most potential in this field. He was the best of these over hurdles and blundered at the last fence last time or he would have finished much closer. He will improve for that experience and I think he is now well-placed to win this race.
I am convinced that REGAL FLOW is a well-handicapped horse and this won't be as competitive as some of the races he has competed in recently. I'm surprised to see his price this big and he looks like a lovely each way bet for me.
The King George VI Chase is the highlight of a great day of racing and sees the top 3 mile chasers square off against each other.
We have a fabulous line up today and we should find out if Might Bite is indeed the superstar that he looks like he could be. Despite some madcap tendencies he looks incredibly talented.
The current prices are too short for me to recommend a bet on him but I couldn't blame anyone that wanted to get involved or put him in a multiple bet with a few other favourites.
Bristol De Mai is next in the betting after a stunning win in the Betfair Chase where he bolted up by 50-odd lengths in the mud.
For my money though he needs proper soft or heavy ground to be at his best and I don't see him carrying that form into today.
Good old Thistlecrack won this last year of course in fabulous style but his comeback run from a subsequent injury was awful and I just can't get involved with him even though he is a huge price for a past winner. He looks to me like that tendon injury has gotten the better of him but let's hope not because it would be great for racing to have him back at his best.
At the prices there are two potential value bets for me – Whisper and FOX NORTON. Whisper has run Might Bite close on two occasions and arguably ran his best race last time in the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase where he finished a close 2nd giving a ton of weight away to other horses because it was a handicap.
That run gives him a higher rating than Might Bite and with a bit of 8/1 available it's difficult to ignore the potential value there. He is another one that I wouldn't try to put you off, particularly if you fancied an each way punt against the two favourites with him. I have plumped for Fox Norton though who I think is the one horse in the field with bags of potential improvement.
He has been campaigned mainly at 2 miles with a notably good run at 2.5 miles at Aintree last season and I think he could end up doing something very similar to Sizing John for the step up to 3 miles. For that reason I am going for a win bet on him.
- 1.15 Leopardstown – Mitchouka – 3pt win at 7/2 with William Hill and Paddy Power
- 1.20 Kempton – Touch Kick – 2pt each way at 15/2 with Bet365, William Hill and others
- 1.55 Kempton – Ballyoptic – 3pt win at 7/2 with Paddy Power, William Hill and others
- 2.05 Wincanton – Regal Flow – 2pt each way at 11/1 with William Hill
- 3.05 Kempton – Fox Norton – 4pt win at 7/1 with William Hill, SkyBet and others
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