So that’s that then and Christmas is all over for another year. A bad day for me on Boxing day with no winner but the cash is only lent to the Bookies as I have three today to have a go at.
Chepstow was due to host the race of the day on Wednesday the G.3 Coral Welsh Grand National Handicap Chase but they have succumbed to the weather and had to abandon due to a waterlogged track.
They race at Kempton again with two graded races taking centre stage the first being the Grade Two Wayward Lad Novices' Chase at 1.20 over two-miles. Despite the race being reopened for 24 hours, there were just six entries with only five standing their ground. Bearing in mind this race was won by Sprinter Sacre in 2011 and Altior twelve months ago this is a weak renewal. Shantou Rock has winning form over the sticks on soft and was impressive at Newton Abbot on Chasing debut making every yard, The Unit nine lengths back in second, before putting up another bold front-running effort when beaten up the run-in at Warwick last time. At 13-8 in places, he is fancied to lead this field a merry dance and make every post a winning one.
They race in Ireland as well of course at Leopardstown and Gordon Elliott will be saddling G.1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle winner Mengli Khan in the Grade One Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle over the two-miles at 1.50. The four-year-old has looked very good thus far this year winning three from three and will shorten even further for the Supreme Novices at Cheltenham if he wins well here. 6-4 is available in places and I would advice grabbing it. Real Steel is the obvious danger.
The Grade Two Desert Orchid Chase back at Kempton at 2.30 has even fewer runners than the Wayward Lad with only four runners but they are pretty good animals at least. Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Special Tiara is bidding for a third victory in the race Henry de Bromhead's stable stalwart having won this in 2014 and again 12 months ago. The ten-year-old will most likely have to play second fiddle to Paul Nicholls’ exciting Politologue though. I was really impressed with the six-year-old in the G.1 Tingle Creek where he was nigh on foot perfect jumping fluently and at speed. He is no price at 8-15 best but I wouldn’t be offering Evens!
Earlier in the afternoon make sure you watch the Grade One Paddys Rewards Clubs Chase over 2m1f at 1.15 over at Leopardstown. It looks at the mercy of Min. Almost the forgotten horse with so many stars in the Mullins stable he made a winning return at long odds-on from nearly a year off the track at Gowran Park last month over 2m4f. Before that way back in December 2016 he won the G.1 Racing Post Novice Chase over track and trip impressively and looks a certainty for this. You can’t be backing him at 1-3 but the race is well worth watching to see how he goes with later engagements at the Festival in mind.