Happy Christmas. NH fans have their real Christmas on Boxing Day and everyone will be looking forward to the King George. Here are the lazybet TV tips – and a couple more.
From what I can see Mister Whitaker is the only steeplechaser Mick Channon has in his yard. He’s been gradually winding down his NH runners over the years – not that he ever had that many – and it could be significant that he has kept hold of this one who won at Carlisle last time in quite taking fashion. He’s the youngest in this race which features a mixed bag; Henderson has a good record in it and runs two, both in the same ownership. Hard to know what they might be but perhaps safe to say neither is outstanding or the other wouldn’t be running.
Mister Whitaker 5/1
A very hot novices chase as it usually is with the likes of Coneygree, Long Run and Strong Flow as past winners. I think Antony Honeyball is a good trainer whom the betting public has not yet cottoned on to. His Fountains Windfall is my choice here. He won easily on his chasing debut and despite being quite keen throughout at Newbury last time he was still in the front line and with every chance when knuckling over on landing three out.
Some of his early jumps were a bit sketchy that day but he seems the type to learn from mistakes (touch wood).
Fountains Windfall 7/1
If Buveur D’Air turns up in form he wins this. I wasn’t all that impressed with him last season he but he looked superb when winning the Fighting Fifth last time, cruising clear in the manner of a top class animal.
I can understand Nigel Twiston-Davies running The New One here but I wish he’d give this horse a break after some hard races this season and train him for the Stayers in March. I think he’ll win that if old Twister doesn’t overdo things.
Thistlecrack is very probably overpriced here but I cannot desert Bristol De Mai who didn’t get the credit he deserved for an astonishing performance at Haydock last time. I fear Might Bite, who could be a superstar given what he did in the RSA back in March in letting Whisper go by him as he almost pulled himself up before getting going again to catch poor Whisper on the line.
You might recall I thought the Hennessy tailor-made for Whisper and I think that was his big chance this season. He had a hard race there and I’m not convinced he loves going this way round; he’s been favourite (joint once) in all 4 right handed races and won just one – the two-horse affair this season.
I backed Fox Norton at 50/1 to win the Champion Chase in March and he failed to do that, losing out in a photo to Special Tiara. He should have won that day. I like him a lot but I don’t think he’s up to this class.
Nick Williams who trains tea For Two is in superb form this past week with 4 winners from 6 runners but his horse should be outclassed here by quite some way. The same goes for Traffic Fluide and Double Shuffle.
Bristol De Mai 4/1
There appeared to be no fluke about the easy win of Baywing here in February. He hasn’t reproduced that from subsequently but he’s still unexposed after just 5 chases. He’s my choice.
Dan Skelton has a fine record here with a 35% strike rate in the past two years and the yard is in fair form. He runs Applesandpierres and I’ll go with him. He beat Guitar Pete here last season and finished behind Arthur’s Gift last time out. Arthur’s Gift went on to win at Cheltenham and hopefully Applesandpierres can frank the form of that last race here.
No terrestrial UK tv at Leopardstown, but a big priced one caught my eye in the red hot Grade 1 novice chase.
I like Footpad and Death Duty a lot. They’ll be backed to the exclusion of the others. Footpad put in a scintillating debut round of fencing. Death Duty is more experienced and much less flashy. I’ve rarely seen a horse who jumps fences so close to the birch without making mistakes – it’s a lazy-looking shape he makes and it’ll be way more efficient than the big leaps Footpad is capable of. But Footpad will gain ground with some of those jumps so it’s hard to say which horse is better off in the end.
Anyway, I’ll avoid both and have a small bet on Avenir D’Une Vie at 25/1. He promised a lot for Mullins as a bumper horse (beaten 7 lengths in last year’s festival bumper) and his win last time might be an indication he’s getting the hang of the game now. He’s twice the price he should be and worth chancing imo.
Avenir D’Une Vie 25/1
Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile.