2:00 Kempton – Kauto Star Novices’ Chase
SAPHIR DU RHEU was the best of these over hurdles and really impressed last time out, winning easily at Exeter. It was a classy performance that day and he jumped well throughout. It usually takes a good horse to win this and he certainly fits that category and he also has a good record going right-handed, including winning the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton last January. There are several good horses in opposition, including Sausalito Sunrise and Coneygree, but the one I favour in the betting without the favourite market is Carraig Mor, who I can see running a big race on this track. I feel that three miles round Kempton will really suit him and he showed last time out, that he has the potential to develop into a top staying novice and he should run a big race.
2:05 Limerick – Shannon Airport Novice Steeplechase
There is a cracking renewal of this race to enjoy, with four potentially exciting horses taking each other on in Wounded Warrior, Gilgamboa, Perfect Gentleman and ADRIANA DES MOTTES and it is the last named that is selected to win. I have always thought she would prove a much better chaser than hurdler and she did not let me down on her chase debut, where she stayed on well to beat Rule The World. She is held in high regard and receives a very handy weight for age and sex allowance, which sees her receive 18lbs from her nearest rival. The trip and ground should be fine and her yard remains in top form, so she is the one to beat.
2:15 Wincanton – Armishaws Removals Harry Dufosee Novices’ Chase
MOSSPARK showed progressive form in hurdles last season, winning three of his four starts and this former Irish pointer has always been expected to make it over fences. He made his chasing debut at Chepstow against Sausalito Sunrise and ran well for a long way, before fading and this drop in trip should really suit. It is also worth noting that he has lost both starts going left-handed and won all three going right-handed, so Wincanton could really suit him and I expect him to win well.
2:35 Kempton – williamhill.com Christmas Hurdle
Faugheen is already favourite for the Champion Hurdle and should win, but he is a short price and the chances of IRVING should not be under-estimated. He is five from seven over hurdles and really impressed when winning at this track last February. He also looked good when winning last time out and has a potent turn of foot. Faugheen stays further and has winning form over three miles and this race usually favours a speed horse, so odds of 5/1 look generous. Nick Schofield rides and he gets on well with him as he has won on five of the six times he has ridden him and also Irving has a record of four from five on right-handed tracks. He has a good chance of winning and is a confident selection in the betting without the favourite market.
2:55 Leopardstown – Racing Post Novice Chase
VAUTOUR is long odds on and should win well. He really impressed on his chase debut and it was clear to see the delight on Ruby Walsh’s face after his easy success. He is held in high regard and it will be very interesting to see how he gets on against some decent opponents. Clarcam finished second to him on that occasion and has won well since and should give another good account, but I favour Real Steel for the forecast. He really impressed on his chase debut and jumps for fun. I can see him getting into a good rhythm from the front and making them all go and putting pressure on his opponent’s jumping. Last time out he put in an amazing performance to finish third in the Grade One Drinmore as he jumped violently right at several fences. This return to a left –handed track should really suit and whilst I don’t expect him to be able to cope with Vautour, he can beat the rest and finish second.
3:10 Kempton – William Hill King George VI Chase
The ground is set to be much quicker than last year and that could have a significant impact on the result of this race. SILVINIACO CONTI stayed on extremely well last season to beat Cue Card and the rain that arrived on the day of the race really helped him. He is again the one to beat following his fine win at Haydock and he is priced about right at 5/2. I am therefore happy with the 9/1 that I tipped him up at in the Ante-Post preview, but I am tempted to also back one of his opponents that should appreciate the better ground. Dynaste has a really good chance and odds of 8/1 are certainly fair. He was a top class novice chaser and was very impressive in winning the Feltham over course and distance of this race. He was not right when running below form last year, but bounced back with a good win in the RyanAir at Cheltenham and ran another good race at Aintree to finish a close second to Silviniaco Conti. Considering it was his first run of the season, I thought he ran well in the Betfair and it is worth remembering how well he ran in that race the previous year, so I expect him to get much closer to the favourite here.