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First of all, a merry Christmas to all the readers of Sports Betting Tips, and especially all of you that follow the free horse racing tips for all the racing shown on Saturdays’ Channel Four Racing. Now that we’ve over Christmas and into the King George meeting, the countdown is well and truly on for the 2016 Cheltenham Festival. And between then and now, we’ve got a lot more free horse racing tips to set us up for a great time in March. And last week, we got back on track, although it could have been even better if it wasn’t for the dead heat in the last televised race of the day. If Sternrubin had just stuck his tongue out, we would have had a winner instead of that dead heat. Still, 9/1 each-way was a nice way to finish the day, after we got Montdragon up at 9/2 as well. So we ended up with a profit of 5.8, and that takes the profit for our free horse racing tips back up to +17.33 units, which is great to see.
It’s Boxing Day, which only means one thing – horse racing from Kempton. We have the King George Chase, the Christmas Hurdle and the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase. We also go to Wetherby for the Rowland Meyrick Chase, and we have a novice handicap chase from Kempton to start the day, too. So, yeah, while not the most full day of racing, we have some seriously high-quality racing, with some Cheltenham Gold Cup contenders on show in the King George, and some Champion Hurdle contenders in the Christmas Hurdle. Needless to say, after all the mince pies, wine, beer, turkey, stuffing and chocolate, I’m still excited by the thought of such amazing racing.
And our friends at Bet365 are giving us some festive cheer, because Bet365 will give you the best price on every horse race shown live on Channel Four if you back it from 10am on the day of the race. That means you should wait until 10am Saturday and get the best price, as they will match their competitors. What could be better than best prices? Well, if you back a winner at 4/1 or more at Bet365 on any of the Channel Four races, you get a free bet that matches your stake on the winner for the next Channel Four race.
The first race of the televised racing on Boxing Day is a novices’ handicap chase over 2 miles 4 furlongs, and we have 10 runners going to post, in what could be a hot and open contest. It’s a decent price on offer for a Class 3 race, so the stables will have sent out their smart novices to claim this.
The two top weights, Germany Calling, and Unique De Cotte, have some decent form in better company than this in the past, with Germany Calling going well at Uttoxeter a while back over a shorter trip, and Unique De Cotte has ran in his fair share of Group 3 races and Listed races, but over hurdles. This is Unique De Cotte’s first time over fences, and he’s beeen thrown in at the deep end, and seems just too far up the handicap to be of note.
Buckhorn Timothy has his level, and this is it, really. If the race was a bit softer, he’d be on the shortlist, but we have a few in this race that should be going on to bigger and better things, and Buckhorn Timothy just doesn’t appeal as much as some. As for Rock N Rhythm, this isn’t his race, and he’ll pick up a race at a lesser level in due time, as his hurdles form entitles him to it.
Sirabad has a second place over fences, but we don’t know exactly how that form is going to work out. It doesn’t look too bad, but then it doesn’t look great either. Plus, I’m still not convinced that Paul Nicholls’ horses have turned the corner. He picked up a couple of races last weekend, but he’s had a few misses since then and a stable like that should be firing on all cylinders at this time of year if everything was right.
Antony, much like Sirabad, has had a good debut over fences, and he actually won his first outing quite convincingly. However, like, Sirabad, we don’t know how that form is going to work out, as the placed horses have yet to reappear. It might be good, but we just don’t know. Plus, his hurdling form isn’t the best in the field, so while he might make a better chaser, he could also have found his level on his first outing.
West Wizard is an interesting chase debutante. His form over hurdles was decent enough, but what takes my fancy is his form at Kempton. He’s had 6 races in his career, 5 of them have been at Kempton and he’s finished in the top 2 every time, so he obviously loves it here. He won last time out, but it was back in May, so we do have to take heed of that. However, he looks to be a Kempton specialist, and should be there or thereabouts on his chase debut.
How About It, like others in this race, has his level, and if this wasn’t such a hot race, he’d be in with a shout. He’s actually pretty well handicapped and could be in with an each-way shout, but we can’t tip him up as there is a few better.
Full Shift has some smart form over hurdles going back, finishing runner-up to Cole Harden early in his career. However, he didn’t take to fences especially well on his debut, and was never in the race. He doesn’t look great value at current prices, and although connections appeal, he just doesn’t seem to warrant too much support.
Bekkensfirth is virtually thrown in at the weights, and after his chase debut, the handicapper might just have a blot on his hands. However, the race he won at Leicester doesn’t look great on paper. Sure, he won by 13 lengths pulling away, but he basically beat trees, and the fact he went off at 12/1 suggests that even connections might have been shocked by his performance. He could be a good thing at the weights, but West Wizard has some more interesting form to back him up.
The Rowland Meyrick chase is the highlight of Wetherby’s Boxing Day meeting. We’ve got a field of 10 runners going to post for this 3 mile chase. We have some of the biggest names in National Hunt racing represented here, and it should be an interesting renewal of this race.
Really, the race revolves around the top weight, Holywell. The fact that Holywell finished fourth in the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup shows he’s a class act, but his two races this year in the Charlie Hall and the Betfair Bowl have seen him beaten a distance by Cue Card. In fact, his run at Haydock in the Betfair Bowl was actually worse than his reappearance in the Charlie Hall. Is he well enough to take around the top weight and give 6lbs+ away to this field? I don’t think so and I wouldn’t be wanting to back him at what looks like it could be too short a price. It’s not that he’s not capable, but connections could have given him an easier prospect that lumping a huge weight around 3 miles in terrible ground at Wetherby.
Instead of looking at the top of the handicap, we’re going to go right down to the near the bottom of the handicap and have a look at What A Good Night (NB). What A Good Night has some decent form in the book, winning last time out, and should have won the time prior to that, falling at the last when 4 lengths clear. The horse that ended up winning has gone on to win again, so it’s good form and the fact he’s thrown in off the weights is a great thing. Sure, he’s 1lb out of the handicap, but then Holywell does set a huge mark and 1lb in this respect shouldn’t hurt too much.
Dolatulo commands respect after a gallant third in the Becher Chase last time out, but we like the look of What A Good Night a little more.
The Kauto Star chase is up next, and will we see something come out of the field that will emulate the great Gold Cup winner? Well, probably not, but it’s still a good-looking race with some really classy sorts in this 3m chase.
Native River leads the way on ratings, and there’s no denying that he’s in good form. However, his win over Un Temps Pour Tout was a bit of a shock. Distance is not going to be a problem here, jumping won’t be a problem and he should be in contention come the final fence.
Southfield Royale is next on ratings, and has taken to fences like a duck to water. There’s no reason to doubt his ability, but this is his first real test against top-quality opposition. He needs to up his game now, and he might not be just as good as his bare chasing form would suggest when you look at his hurdling form.
Bally Beaufort is taken to continue his winning run over fences. Two wins out of two over fences, and although it was against lesser opposition, he’s also shown great form in point-to-points in the past, so we know he goes well over the larger obstacles.
The Christmas hurdle is up next, 2 miles and 5 runners in what is going to be a nice little race with some pointers towards the 2016 Champion Hurdle.
Faugheen is the one to watch, with this year’s Champion Hurdle winner losing for the first time in his seasonal reappearance to Nichols Canyon. Now, on form, he should run this lot into the ground, and he obviously needed his first run of the season, but is he going to reproduce the form that he showed previously? Well, he’s going to be going off far too short for my liking with some of his opposition coming into this race in good form.
Hagram, well, he’s not shown he can handle this kind of race, and he should just be competing for the place money.
Old Guard is another interesting one, and he’s in a rich vein of form, but looking at the Triumph Hurdle form from the 2015 Cheltenham Festival, he might not be competing for the win. He has impressed, but he really has to step up a long way to be competing here.
Sign of a Victory will be there to make up the numbers. Good luck to connections, though.
The New One is the one we’re going to take a chance on to take out Faugheen. He should has won this race two years ago, but blundered at the last. He’s got good form at Kempton, we know he’s a class act, and although Faugheen got the better of him at Cheltenham, Kempton suits him more and he will, at worst, give Faugheen a stiff test.
The big race of the day, the King George VI Chase, and it’s a rehearsal for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Like the Christmas Hurdle, it revolves around one horse, and that horse is Vautour. Yes, Vautour looked imperious JLT Novices’ Chase at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, but he was nowhere near as good at Ascot last time out. The reason? He was jumping left at a lot of fences, and didn’t convince in beating Ptit Zig.
He’ll have to beat some truly in-form chasers in the shape of Cue Card, and Smad Place. However, the ground doesn’t seem to be soft enough for Smad Place, and I have to say that Cue Card, although winning well, hasn’t beat the true cream of the crop in his recent wins. Connections think the pace will suit Cue Card, but I think he’ll struggle to fill the places.
For me, this is all about Don Cossack (NAP) who is also my current ante post pick for the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup. He jumps like a stag, he has a great range of gears and Kempton will definitely suit. He’s also a fighter, which might just come in handy should some of the field get close to him a furlong or two out. Get on Don Cossack for the Gold Cup now, too, because when he hacks up, he’s going to be a short order to win the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup.