Tidal to Ensure Winnings Flow for Us
It’s time for Thyme Hill to really put his Cheltenham credentials on the line in the Challow Hurdle on Saturday, a race that along with several Grade 1’s in Ireland over the weekend will continue to help shape the ante post markets for the Festival in March.
These races are wonderful in terms of quality and I urge you to watch them all and add significant performances to your notebook, however on this occasion no betting propositions offering good enough value have presented themselves so we skip them in terms of laying down cash.
We have however got three bright wagering prospects in all sorts of races we can play on, three on Saturday and three on Sunday as a busy festive period of racing continues after the drama and heroics of Boxing Day and the Welsh Grand National.
Saturday 28th December 2019
2.40 Leicester (Leicestershire Silver Fox Handicap Chase) – EUREU DU BOULAY
Richard Hobson sends this five-year-old into battle in a decent looking chase and it could well be that he has been prepared perfectly for it. With the trip, ground and his handicap mark all looking fine a strong run looks to be on the cards anyway, but his profile suggests a career best is coming and that should be enough for a cosy win.
His main market rivals are older than he is and have less in the way of potential for improvement, while he also prepared for today with his best hurdling performance to date suggesting he is in great form and yet at the same time has been having his chasing mark looked after. 3lb claimer Paul O’Brien rides.
2.45 Lingfield (Novice Stakes) – FIRST WINTER
There are two outstanding candidates in this field with experience; John Gosden’s Indigo Lake and Hughie Morrison’s Kipps.
Both horses made reasonable debuts, both were halted in their runs and both have a running style and breeding that suggests this mile-and-a-quarter trip should be right up their alley.
The joker in the pack however is Godolphin’s debutant First Winter and he could be great value here. He is by Dubawi and out of a Sadler’s Wells mare called Abushenka, so while he has a middle-distance pedigree at first glance a look at the dam’s form suggests he may have just a little more toe than the others.
His main rivals did their recent work on slower tracks, so it’s thought that given the level Charlie Appleby gets his first time runners to, allied with this chap’s profile suggesting Lingfield may be better for him than them, he rates a small bet and any money for him in the morning should certainly be taken note of.
3.35 Newbury (Novices’ Handicap Chase) – TIDAL FLOW
No less than three of the selection’s main market rivals for this race were runners-up last time out, meaning this is a competitive event full of horses in good form.
Philip Hobbs’ Tidal Flow however took a major step forward on heavy ground at Uttoxeter over 2½ miles, winning ever so easily. His 7lb rise in the weights looks nowhere near appropriate and it’s felt he is the one in the field that could be ahead of the handicapper, especially given the likelihood of more improvement to come.
Richard Johnson’s mount then is taken to score, at the main expense of Kateson and Morning Vicar.
Sunday 29th December 2019
7.20 Sha Tin (Bauhinia Sprint Trophy – Group 3 Handicap) – THANKS FOREVER
Hong Kong is a very unusual destination for us, but it’s hoped we can grab some value on this horse when betting opens online.
Last time out winners Big Party and Big Time Baby are both well fancied for this, but the combination of John Moore and Silvestre De Sousa could be a potent one and one can’t help thinking that in going down from six furlongs to five, this four-year-old could yet have a ton of improvement in him and it’s that potential that the strong and uncompromising De Sousa can drag out of horses.
A rating of 104 and a weight of 8-13 does not look too burdensome, so Thanks Forever is taken to get our Sunday off to a very early good start.
1.35 Doncaster (Yorkshire Silver Vase Mares’ Chase – Listed Race) – CASABLANCA MIX
Most of the information floating around all week has surrounded the chances of Lady Buttons and La Bague Au Roi, and while both are strong contenders its compelling that Nicky Henderson’s Casablanca Mix has eased to a mark 4-5lbs better than her rivals on flat tracks, over this distance and on similar ground.
Given that she won three in a row and is younger than the big two in the market, we cannot say with confidence we’ve reached the bottom of her yet and so there’s no logical reason not to throw her in as the most likely winner, despite potentially being third-best in the betting market which could bode well for us as punters.
2.45 Doncaster (Handicap Chase) – BOLDMERE
Caroline Bailey’s six-year-old carries a fair weight for one of the less experienced horses in this line-up, but he fairly bolted up on his second chase start and first in handicap company at Leicester and still looks pretty well-off in the handicap to me.
Sean Bowen takes the ride this time and it’s expected that he’ll get a good tune out of this horse, one who with a clean round of jumping shouldn’t have too many problems in dispatching the likes of Slanelough and Lithic who rate next on the list.