Good morning all,
I hope all of you had a decent Christmas. I must confess I gave it a bit of a miss this year. Mind you I’m not much of Christmas person at the best of times, so it was hardly going to be any different in this year of all years.
It was sad to see yesterday’s Coral Welsh Grand National meeting being postponed because of waterlogging. However, it wasn’t totally surprising given 100mm of rain fell on the track since Monday. The good news It looks like the race will be rescheduled for the second Saturday after New Year. Given January can be a bit light on big races, it’s something to look forward to, especially as it seems another Covid-19 National Lockdown is incoming.
In today’s main piece you can read my thoughts on Boxing Day’s King George VI Chase. Plus, I have had a look at some races on today's Leopardstown card.
Frost on Boxing Day
Good race riding is all about tactics and Bryony Frost got them right on Frodon to win the King George. The other jockeys allowed her to dictate the race from the front and you just can’t allow a good jumper like Frodon a virtually uncontested lead.
The other jockey’s need to take a good look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves why they allowed it to happen.
What was Nico De Boinville doing on Santini?
He had his mount up with Frodon over the first two fences but when Bryony slowed it down again, he sat off the pace, instead of going on. Predictably Santini hit his usual flat spot three out and could only plug on for fifth.
Hughes waits patiently
Waiting Patiently was having his first run since finishing third in the Tingle Creek over 12 months ago. He ran a a cracker to finish a never nearer second, given his stamina for 3m had yet to be proved. He was held up at the back. Sadly he was just too far out off the pace coming to the last. It was a good effort but he’s not been the easiest to train and I wonder when we’ll see him again. I can't help but think connections will see this as a missed opportunity for big race success.
Clan Des Obeaux never travelled and his jumping wasn’t good enough. You can’t win a Grade 1 Chase and jump like he did on Saturday. To his credit he kept on to take third. Possibly a hard race in the Betfair Chase had taken the edge off him.
Saint Calvados was another with stamina to prove. He ran well for a long way but lost a couple of places after the last to finish fourth. He looked a blatant non stayer but can run a big race in the Ryanair Chase in March.
Lostintranslation ran no sort of race but was said to have bled after the race. Meanwhile Cyrname never really fancied it and was a beaten horse four out.
A good result for Frodon and Bryony Frost but ultimately a poor King George.
I will be looking back at a few other festive highlights over the next few days.
I had a couple of winners at Leopardstown yesterday in Master McShee (advised 9/1) and Castlebawn West (advised 12/1) in the Paddy Power Handicap Chase. I thought the first named was well handicapped, off a mark of 132, for his handicap hurdle debut and as I told Victor Value subscribers: “If it wasn’t for an unfashionable trainer/jockey combination Master McShee would likely be half the odds he is”.
Leopardstown takes centre stage on Monday with a competitive looking Grade 1 Savills Chase (2:25) the feature race of a seven-race card. If you don’t have to work today, you can watch the best of the action from Leopardstown and Limerick on ITV.
2:25 – Fourteen go to post for what looks an above average renewal of the race. Except for Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo it’s the best of the Irish three mile division.
Minella Indo, runner-up to Champ in the RSA Novices’s Chase head the market after two wins this season in lesser company. At 9/4 he looks plenty short enough to me.
Delta Work won this 12 months ago and is 3-3 over C&D. He wasn’t seen at his best when only fifth in the Gold Cup and likely needed his Down Royal reappearance. Better expected today and Jack Kennedy stays onboard.
Presenting Percy put in a career best when beating Kemboy and Monalee at Thurles last time.
Kemboy who won this in 2018 should get closer given he was giving away race fitness to the winner.
Samcro won the Grade 1 Marsh Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham in March. He will strip fitter for his Down Royal reappearance third behind Battleoverdoyen. Decent ground will suit the 8-year-old on his first start beyond 2m 5f. Each way claims and 3m could turn out to be his optimum trip.
A Plus Tard beat Chacun Pour Soi in the 2m 1f chase here 12 months ago. Big step up in distance from the minimum trip on his return to action and doubts about 3m remain.
Melon was just a nose behind Samcro at Cheltenham. Third to stablemate Min in the John Durkan on his seasonal reappearance. Shapes like 3m could be interesting and he could get into the money.
Allaho finished third, one place behind Minello Indo in the RSA Novices’ Chase. However, he ran no sort of race when 6th of 7 in the John Durkan last time. He’s surely better than bare form and is the choice of Paul Townend.
12:40 – The market is headed by The Bosses Oscar who was fifth in last years Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle. The 6-year-old has made a good return to action winning at Thurles and then finishing runner-up in Navan 23-days ago.
Morosini pulled up on his chase debut but was back to form when returned hurdling when finishing 4th of 16 at Naas 37-days ago Looks worth another try at 3m but may find one or two better handicapped rivals.
Unexpected Depth returned from a 431-day break to make it 3-8 over hurdles, when winning a 3m handicap hurdle at Punchestown 20-days ago. An 8lb rise in the weights isn’t harsh and he looks the one to be with here.
1:50 – Handsworth remains a maiden after nine start over hurdles but put in a career best effort when 2nd of 10 at Wexford two starts back and wasn’t disgraced when 5th of 15 at Navan last time over 2m 6f. Drop back to 2m 4f could prove ideal and Jack Kennedy is an eyecatching jockey booking.
1:50 – Handsworth – 14/1 @ Paddy Power & Sky Bet (both paying 6 places 1/5 odds)
Good luck with your Monday bets.
John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here – https://victorvalue.uk