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It was hard to get a good gauge on what last weekend’s racing told us. The ground at Newbury and Newcastle was bottomless, it was made for mudlarks and, come Cheltenham, we’re hopefully not going to see too much in the way of the deluges that we’ve seen of late in the UK. Still, it was a good win in the Hennessy for Smad Place, who is definitely a smart sort and is always there or thereabouts in the big races. Last weekend, we broken even thanks to Wakanda winning the Rehearsal Chase at 6/1. While not the greatest score, we’ll definitely take it. So our profit is still sitting pretty at a nice +17.23 units, after 11 weeks of free horse racing tips.
Channel Four Racing are covering two meetings on Saturday December 5th, with Aintree and Sandown both having some cracking races. The Tingle Creek is the highlight at Sandown, although with Simonsig being ruled lame and Un De Sceaux being ruled out earlier in the week. The big races at Aintree are the Grand Sefton and the Becher Chase. We could get some more answers to unlock the rest of the seasons big races and, of course, the Cheltenham puzzle with the results of a lot of the races at Sandown and Aintree. So, as always, I’ll give you free horse racing tips for Channel Four Racing on Saturday December 5th, 2015.
I know it’s going to sound boring, but I do need to keep on reminding you that our friends at 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. So, back a winner of the 1:40 at Aintree for up to £50 and get free bet of up to £50 on the 1:55 at Sandown.
First race on Channel Four Racing, and it’s one of the biggest chases of the autumn/winter, the Becher Chase. It’s 3 miles 1 furlong over the Grand National fences and we have 17 runner declared at the time of writing. It’s going to be a messy, muddling race, so let’s get down to it.
Unioniste sets the standard here and is going to be lugging the top weight round. No doubt Unioniste is a class act, but he’s giving away 8lbs to the field and the ground at Aintree is going to be a real test. He won’t mind the ground, the trip won’t be a problem, but I just worry about the weight on the ground, especially without a prep run under his belt.
Goonyella has done nothing to suggest he should be as short as he is. Age might just be catching up with Pineau De Re, although he’s weighted very nicely considering he’s a winner over these fences. A couple of years ago, he would be a lot shorter than he is now. Algernon Pazham looks interesting in the middle of the weights, but at six year-old and with a lack of experience over this course, it might not be his time. Soll disappointed in the Grand National, after coming into the race in good form, and he’s gone up several pounds since then, so things might not be in his favour now.
Saint Are ran a huge race to finish second in this year’s Grand National and has only been raised 5lbs for that. He’s had a prep run where pretty poorly at Cheltenham, but he needed the run last year before he finished 3rd in last year’s race.
First race up from Sandown is the Henry VIII Novice Chase, where we’ve got a small field of novices racing over 2 miles. Only 6 runners declared at the time of writing, but a couple of smart novices on show here.
Ar Mad won over course and distance at the start of November, but it was a field of three and only one other completed, so what can we learn from that race? Not much. But he beat what was in front of him, and that’s all you can ask for.
As De Mee was hyped up a bit before his two runs this season, but couldn’t get his nose in front. Although, to be fair, he lost out to the very classy More of That last time out. He’s being dropped down in trip now, and was a better hurdler over the shorter distance. He’ll like going right-handed, so is a big player here.
It’s hard to read into Sizing Codelco’s form too much, as he didn’t beat much last time out, and with over half the field falling, we don’t know just how good the win is. Connections obviously think highly enough of him, but the form could be literally anything at the moment.
Willow’s Saviour was handy enough over hurdles and won on his reappearance, but he had to fight hard for it, and it doesn’t look like he beat anything too special. On paper, he looks decent, but delving a bit deeper, I can’t the eight year-old posing too much of a problem.
Bouvreuil is the Nicholls second-string.
Bristol De Mai (NAP) gets a nice allowance of 6lbs since he’s a four year-old. First time out, he lost to Garde Le Victoire, who has since gone on to land a very hot chase at Cheltenham. It’s a great line of form, and he won by 19 lengths last time out. He might run into a tough one with As De Mee, but that allowance should see him home and back up the form of Garce Le Victoire.
A trappy little four-runner chase over 3 miles. We have Grand National winner Many Clouds lining up, along with Menorah, Don Poli and Southfield Theatre. It’s a hot little race.
Many Clouds and Menorah both disappointed in their seasonal reappearances. Yes, they should come on for the run, but Many Clouds will be prepped for another tilt at the Cheltenham Festival and then the Grand National, so this race probably isn’t for him. As for Menorah, I think his best days are behind him now. He’s the elder statesman in the field and he was pulled up in the Charlie Hall so it might be time to pass the baton.
For me, it’s all about the two horses in the field getting a weight allowance, Don Poli and Southfield Theatre. They were the first two home in the Royal and Sun Alliance Chase at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, with Don Poli running away a clear winner.
Southfield Theatre has had a run this season, but was put firmly in his place by Coneygree at Sandown. He’ll have needed the run, but then he goes well fresh, so there should have been no excuses for his run.
Don Poli is having his first run of the season, but he’s a classy sort and is going to be going on to the biggest chases this year. A possible tilt at the Gold Cup is on the cards, so these are the races he should be winning if he’s to back up his place near the head of the market. Look for a strong showing of jumping and for him to grind his rivals down.
A nice, competitive 2 mile handicap hurdle next up from Sandown.
Devilment won a hot hurdle in his first race of the season, but disappointed last time out. He’s carrying top weight, he struggled of this mark last time out, so I don’t think he’ll be able to cope off this mark with some seriously well handicapped runners in the race. He’s also weighted to keep Lil Rockerfeller at bay, too, so it might not be the race for either of them.
Deep Trouble is returning to hurdles after a stint over fences. He’ll find this tough going, although he has ran at a better level than this. He’ll find his race in due course, but this probably isn’t going to be his day.
Some Plan finished 10th in the Supreme Novice Hurdle at this year’s Cheltenham Festival. His placing looked about right on form, but he could be very well handicapped here, considering how highly his stable regards him. It’s a tough race to win, and there could be a bolted at the bottom of the handicap, but we’re looking for the classy horses in the field, and Some Plan ticks that box.
It’s the feature race of the day, the Tingle Creek Chase, a 2 mile chase featuring some of the fastest, classiest chasers in training. Well, it would have been if we hadn’t had Simonsig getting pulled just the day before the race. Still, it’s a decent field of 7 going to post and it looks an open race.
Josses Hill finished third in this year’s Arkle, which looks a good result on paper. He disappointed last time out, but the trip looked a bit too long for him, and he also looks like he wants to go right-handed, so this will be perfect for him.
Mr Mole just keeps on finding a few better than him, including most of this field at one time or another. Sire De Grugy has been struggling to find any kind of form and was tailed off behind Vibrato Valtat last time out. While this isn’t the toughest race he’ll ever have won, I think his best days might be in the past now. And as for Somersby, well, the fact he’s still racing in this high level at the age of 12 just sums up his class. But there are better, younger horses in this race, even though his second in the Queen Mother looks great on paper.
Special Tiara was third in the Champion Chase, then came out at smashed Sprinter Sacre over course and distance. His first run this season, he was done by 50 lengths at Navan. My problem is that the Champion Chase looks like a weak renewal on paper, and I think the form of the Arkle might actually hold up better this year. And as for beating Sprinter Sacre, well, the legend has just not been the same.
This might just be too high a standard for Third Intention. He’s ran well in decent company, but he’s had his chances in weaker races and still come up short.
Vibrator Valtat, fourth in the Arkle, but then fourth behind Special Tiara at Sandown the next month. Vibrato Valtar has some solid form in the book, and is deserving of the place at the front of the market. However, while he beat Third Intention comfortably enough last time out at Exeter, you would have expected a slightly more convincing win given he was getting an allowance.
For me, Josses Hill might be the one to solve this problem. I think that the form for the Arkle reads a lot better than that of the Champion Chase from last year’s Cheltenham Festival. He was 7 lengths or so back from Vibrato Valtat at Sandown in April where Vibrato Valtat finished second to Clarcam, but he was handing right-handed, so hopefully any right-handed action goes in his favour here.
The Grand Sefton is the highlight of the day’s racing at Aintree, and it’s over 2 miles 5 furlongs. We have 13 runner declared right now, so it’s a trick handicap to sort out.
Rocky Creek (NB)has skewed the handicap quite a bit here. He’s giving 7lbs to Double Ross and then over a stone to the rest of the field. He ran very handily behind Don Cossack last time out at Down Royal, 8 lengths behind. If he can replicate that, he could bolt up even under his a big weight.
I can’t honestly see anything else in the race that comes close to Rocky Creek’s class in this race, as we have a lot of horses just well out of form, clearly not fit, while Rocky Creek has had one run under his belt, which was a performance most of this field could only hope for. Normally I don’t like backing top weights in soft ground in big handicaps, but Rocky Creek really is a cut above here.
The last race on Channel Four Racing, and we have 16 runner declared for this 3 mile 4 furlong handicap chase.
It’s a hard race to fathom out, we have a few with claims, but I like the look of Ballyheigue Bay. He has course form, and if he hadn’t blundered last time out at Sandown, he might well have won. The fact he only lost by 2 lengths when it all went against him shows he should be able to handle this, especially off the same handicap mark of 131.
Carole’s Destrier disappointed for us last time out and while he’s 3lbs lower than last time out, there’s nothing to suggest that he’s going to come on for this run off this mark near the top of the handicap. Restless Harry has been brought down in class, but he just looks to be a bit of a tricky sort and a trappy race like this doesn’t look ideal for what appears to be a bit of a rascal.