Friday, 7 December 2018

Saturday 8th December: Totter To Down Rivals In December Hurdle

Another top quality afternoon of jumps action awaits us this Saturday as both the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase and the Tingle Creek are run at Sandown while the Becher and the Many Clouds chases take place at Aintree.

Lalor looks particularly strong and may go back to clear favouritism in the Arkle market if winning the Henry VIII, though he is no sort of price leaving the race simply a watching brief for us.  The same can be said of Altior in the Tingle Creek who to be honest doesn’t look like being beaten but for a mistake, though again at around 8/11 we cannot play.

We are left with five to have a go at around the country though, albeit smaller stakes are advised this week, as Aintree, Sandown and Wolverhampton give us an opportunity to supplement our Grade 1 watching pleasure with some betting profit.

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2.05 Aintree (Many Clouds Chase – Grade 2) – DEFINITLY RED

This race has cut up terribly and that’s a real shame, though as long as he remains around the even-money mark Brian Ellison’s Definitly Red can be backed with confidence to back up his Charlie Hall Chase win last month and prove his trainer right that he is underrated and stands a real chance in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham in March.

Having already finished sixth in a Gold Cup but is certainly capable of better; he’d been outstanding before the Festival in the Cotswold Chase when slamming his opposition.  No doubt winning what is now a small race still won’t lead to Definitly Red getting the credit he deserves but it remains another important step towards the big one in three months.

2.25 Sandown (December Handicap Hurdle – Listed Race) – TOTTERDOWN

Richard Phillips’ 7yo looks great value in this race having won two from three this season, improving no end when the ground went particularly soft over this course and distance last time out.

While it’s true that he’s gone up plenty in the weights, even a recreation of that latest run would put him close here at these weights never mind the fact that he should improve further so he gets the nod for rider Daniel Hiskett.

Also of good value in this race is Philip Hobbs’ I’m A Game Changer while the favourite is likely to be 4yo Apple’s Shakira, though her price looks a little skinny to me which is probably due to her trainer’s current form and reputation.

2.40 Aintree (Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle – Listed Race) – GIVING GLANCES

Although we haven’t got much to go on with these juveniles, Alan King’s Giving Glances looks potentially miles clear of these and must be backed at anything above 6/4.  She won simply effortlessly at Hereford on her hurdling debut, a win that on the book makes her favourite for this but in reality we have no idea what level she could have reached if pressed.

Some horses don’t find too much more than what they’ve already shown for pressure but she looks like one really going places and should see off Smiling Eliza and Chica Buena before going up in grade and heading for the Festival in March.

3.15 Aintree (Sefton Handicap Chase) – KILCREA VALE

Nicky Henderson is already having another wonderful term and he may well add this race to his seasonal CV as his Kilcrea Vale looks good value to go well on his reappearance.

His fourth in the Topham in April around here reads pretty well although that is not his best piece of form as wins at Ludlow and Fontwell in the past allied with his second at Ascot in January show him to be well capable in these conditions.

Jeremiah McGrath rides and may have enough under him to see of the challenge of Captain Redbeard and Crievehill and at pretty tasty odds too.

7.45 Wolverhampton (Handicap) – ATTY PERSSE

A winner at Royal Ascot last year, Atty Persse has had his problems and so his reappearance this season was delayed until July.  He was thrown straight in at a good level and ran well in third in the Old Newton Cup before running second at Ascot.

His inconsistency returned though as he ran last at Newmarket before a sixth at Kempton but I can’t help feeling that a big run is round the corner.

He’s had a wind operation and may if anything improve overall, something Godolphin will be desperately hoping for so after slipping to a mark of 100 it would be no surprise to see P J McDonald coax the son of Frankel round before pouncing on them late on.

C Note and Not So Sleepy may be the ones to give Roger Charlton’s four-year-old most to do this time though the race is pretty competitive for places.

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