Those of you swerving the actual selections for The Raceweb Advent Calendar are doing well – although today, I felt as though a corner had been turned. Doubtless, it will be followed by walking into a pane of glass being carried by two slapstick comedians. Hey Ho… it’s only a bit of fun. Meanwhile, we have almost finished the Christmas Card list, have bought the Christmas Tree, the Christmas Wreath has been made by the elves and tomorrow we head for Sandown for Tingle Creek day. The memsahib has shares in Henrietta Bell and Vinnie Lewis, so it will be – if nothing else – a cracking day with chums and good racing people.
Talking of good racing people, I am very cross about the removal of Cornelius Lysaght from the BBC’s front line. He and I have history, largely based on my incompetence and his skill. Increasingly the Blatantly Biased Corruption becomes more and more Metro-centric, regarding anything that breathes country air as anathema, and anything older than 25 as the spawn of Satan. There is a solution and it would also save us all just south of £200 per annum. Just saying…
Meanwhile some TV tips plus Chepstow’s big race, The Welsh National Trial.
1:30 AINTREE Randox Health Becher Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 (6yo+) 3m2f
Last year’s winner WALK IN THE MILL has only got 4lbs more – and he was also fourth in April in the National. The Eider Chase 2nd MYSTEREE seems to have been lit up by the application of blinkers and the blinkers might well also improve KIMBERLITE CANDY who goes well fresh. BALLYOPTIC won the Charlie Hall at Wetherby last month and I’m thinking he will find this considerably easier than Haydock’s Betfair Chase two weeks ago. The Grand National is his target and at 16/1, he is probably my main e/w selection. ONE FOR ARTHUR has not shown much since he won the 2017 Grand National and while he seemed sparky at Kelso LTO, he faded and I fear he’s past his best.
1:50 SANDOWN Read Road To Cheltenham At racingtv.com Henry VIII Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m7½f
The Skelton run NUBE NEGRA who looked impressive at Fakenham. The team consider him an exciting prospect and very much the type to hold his own in stronger company. SUMMERVILLE BOY made his chasing debut at Uttoxeter on 1st November, after a six-month break following wind surgery, He was only 6l behind Buveur D’Air in May’s Irish Champion Hurdle, and the motor and gears on display that day, all seemed in full working order. He is a very exciting prospect. Slight preference, however, is for the Skeltons charge.
1:55 CHEPSTOW Coral Welsh Grand National Trial Handicap Chase Cl2 (4yo+ 0-150) 2m7½f
CAPTAIN CATTISTOCK is 2W – 3P from 6R and is one of Paul Nicholls’ best potential staying chasers. Nick Schofield takes the ride on the 6yo, Top weight CALIPTO is probably the main danger, but he may need the race in preparation for the real thing.
2:05 AINTREE Download The App At Virgin Bet Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle (Listed Race) Cl1 (3yo) 2m1f
MIDNIGHTS GIFT had a perfectly sound hurdling debut at Fakenham some six weeks ago but his jumping was a little sketchy. BREAK THE RULES who was second in that race, fiddled the last hurdle and lost momentum. It’s between these two and I’m tempted to back BREAK THE RULES and do a Reverse Forecast.
2:25 SANDOWN Jumeirah Hotels And Resorts December Handicap Hurdle (Listed Race) Cl1 (4yo+ 0-150) 2m
SONG FOR SOMEONE was thought good enough to contest the Grade 1 Doom Bar at Aintree in April and this looks a much easier task. He handled his mark with ease on his seasonal reappearance, taking it up three out and coming right away. He’s not big money, but he’s good at all prices to 13/2. THEO’S CHARM, on the other hand, is way too big and having been placed on both his starts this season, and I think he’s going to get a decently fast pace which will really suit him..
2:40 AINTREE Virgin Bet Price Boosts Many Clouds Chase (Grade 2) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m1f
It is very difficult to see past NATIVE RIVER and of course the second should be MIGHT BITE. I’m afraid I find this race full of peril and I shall back the favourite if pushed and simply say I wouldn’t be surprised by a younger model appearing on the scene.
3:00 SANDOWN Betfair Tingle Creek Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m7½f
The favourite DEFI DU SEUIL wins – POLITOLOGUE is the forecast. He has a 3lb pull with DDS after their meeting LTO. Frightenmer and the tricast is possibly in the shape of JANIKA, who won the Haldon Gold Cup LTO which is decent form.
3:15 AINTREE Virgin Bet Grand Sefton Handicap Chase Cl2 (6yo+) 2m5f
This looks competitive and if by any chance Black Corton wins the 2:40, then the topweight GOLD PRESENT would be very interesting as Nicky Henderson’s charge chased home Black Corton in the Oaksey Chase at Sandown last April. GOLD PRESENT has the same mark and isn’t a horrible price. Top of the trends list is FLYING ANGEL who has had two safe rounds over these fences twice before and looks safe. WISHFULL THINKING looks to big a price.
3:35 SANDOWN Betfair London National Handicap Chase Cl2 (5yo+ 0-150) 3m5f
DRAGON D’ESTRUVAL Shaped well at Ascot on his reappearance and looks capable of winning off his present mark. VINNIE LEWIS got royally shafted at Sedgefield LTO, bumped by a loose horse five from home which emptied the tank two out. I think he’ll be sharper this time. Also, be aware of the Skelton’s GET ON THE YAGER who