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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Saturday's bets

Heading up to Leopardstown today with few friends - can't wait. It's become a bit of a tradition for us now and it should be a good session. Not certain what I'm backing yet, looking forward to seeing Hurricane Fly certainly, and I'll probably back Sizing Gold in the maiden hurdle. Lord Wintermere looks the pick in the beginners chase. Still undecided on the mares hurdle and the bumper later.

Also looking forward to some racing across the water. Here's today's Irish Independent article:

DESPITE the fact that I backed Long Run in the King George at Kempton, his win there has not made me any more confident about his Cheltenham Gold Cup chances and I'm happy to keep an open mind on that race for now. Certainly, he has plenty of guts and a huge heart and that's what got him over the line at the expense of Captain Chris; but his jumping was far from fluent and in the end it was stamina which just about papered over the cracks. He’ll most likely take in the Denman Chase next but unless the ground comes up heavy in March (which is very unlikely) he won't get away with sloppiness in the Gold Cup when faced with the likes of Bobs Worth on better ground. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to downplay what he's achieved and regular readers will know that I’ve often said he’s under-rated. But to win the top races these days, he needs the ground conditions and pace to fall just right so it was a little surprising to see at least two bookmakers cut his price for Cheltenham's Blue Riband event immediately after Kempton - although Gold Cup prices have been revised once again following Tidal Bay’s victory in the Lexus Chase yesterday.  Speaking of Cheltenham , this afternoon's Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury (2.45) might give us a few Festival clues  and can go the way of Clondaw Kaempfer trained by Donald McCain, priced around 2/1. A half-brother to the useful hurdler Its A Dream, he kicked of his career by winning a valuable bumper at Fairyhouse in April for trainer Colin Bowe before being sold for £130,000 and sent across the water to go hurdling. He put his point-to-point experience to good use in his first novice hurdle at Aintree in October, drawing easily clear of his three rivals on heavy ground and followed up that victory with another win last time out in a listed novice hurdle at Haydock. While he did make a bit of a blunder at the last, he kept his composure and stuck to the task at hand thereby giving the impression that he's learning the ropes rather quickly. His latest race was over two miles which seemed a bit short so it's good to see him back up in distance today and he's definitely one to keep on side as the season progresses. It's no secret that Donald McCain thinks very highly of the Oscar gelding and when Cheltenham comes around in March, he's bound to be popular in the betting for one of the novice races provided connections don't opt for the bumper instead. Another interesting entry is Jonjo O’Neill's French import Taquin Du Seuil (5/2), which won a grade two novice hurdle at Sandown earlier this month. O'Neill has stated that he's the best novice he has in training at the moment and looks forward to training the horse he describes as "Cheltenham Festival class". We'll find out today just how classy those two horses are. 

ABOVE The Stars is worth taking each-way in the 32Red Casino Handicap on the Polytrack at Dunstall Park (2.05) if she goes off at a double figure price as forecasted. The Richard Fahey trained four-year-old ran poorly here a couple of weeks ago but had earlier put  in some solid performances on the artificial surface, hitting the crossbar a couple of times without actually winning. The handicapper has let her mark slide quite a bit since her last win at Pontefract back in August and if Barry McHugh can get her out into her preferred front-running position early on, she can finish in the money once again this afternoon.

Horseracing: OK it's time to be completely unoriginal here but Hurricane Fly is impossible to oppose in this afternoon's Istabraq Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown (2.00). He now has twelve grade one wins to his name and while he was below par in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, he confirmed his wellbeing by winning his latest two races at Punchestown. He can win this without breaking a sweat today, priced around 1/3.
Soccer: MANCHESTER United lived up to their newly earned reputation as the comeback kings on Wednesday when fighting back more than once to beat Newcastle 4-3. The defence is still weak but luckily they are making up for it up front and there’s a good chance we'll see numerous goals scored in this afternoon's Premier League clash with West Brom at Old Trafford. Make some money by backing both teams to score, priced just under even-money. 

*Wednesday's double was successful on both legs at an overall price of 15/8.  

1.35 Newbury: Module
2.00 Leopardstown: Hurricane Fly
2.05 Wolverhampton: Above The Stars (e/w)
2.45 Newbury: Clondaw Kaempfer

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