To keep things short and sweet, hopefully you took our advice for Boxing Day – there wasn’t a single member of the team who didn’t mange to have it off and hopefully you were with us.
A big shame that Chepstow is off today but there’s another full card for Leopardstown where I have some tips plus I’ve run through three of the races I’m most interested in at Kempton.
For full access to all of Will’s tips in his Will’s Wisdom join us for FREE or join our Community for our premium tips including our Plays and Lays. Yesterday, our Play was advised at 9/1 and WON at 7/2 and our Lay was well beaten in 7th. JP
12.10 – Paddy Power ‘Only 363 Days Till Christmas’ 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle (3yo): Killarney flat winner Mr Adjudicator is a popular choice to get off to a flyer over hurdles for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend but it’s well worth forgiving Kuraka his odds on defeat thanks to the testing ground at Down Royal and on his debut he bumped into none other than yesterday’s Grade 2 winner and Triumph Hurdle hope Espoir D’Allen. A repeat of that performance would give him realistic claims and the gap between him and the favourite looks too big. Former Richard Hannon inmate Pete So High was third on debut and should also be involved, but there’s plenty of promise on paper from the jumping debutants.
Chief amongst those to look out for on their hurdling debuts are Gordon Elliott’s Count Simon, rated 83 on the flat for Andrew Blading and versatile regarding the ground, and Tony Martin’s Harlow, rated 84 on the flat for Hugo Palmer.
Advice: 1 pt win Kuraka (5/1 general)
12.40 – Paddy Power Cash Card PPlus Beginners Chase (4yo+): Bunk Off Early was deeply impressive in the maiden hurdle here and shaped with such promise in the Deloitte Novices’ hurdle, so his runs in the spring at Cheltenham and Punchestown were desperately disappointing. He should be a useful chaser however, even if he doesn’t make a whole host of appeal at odds on.
Le Martalin has strong claims on his second to DInaria Des Obeaux at Wexford and can be expected to go close along with Tycoon Prince, whilst Montalbano needs to improve for his debut when Jett had his measure when he fell. Drumconnor Lad and Don’t Let Go look set to struggled here.
1.15 – Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+): It will be a shock and disappointment if Min, who beat Ordinary World by 9 lengths in the corresponding novice race a year ago, is beaten here, having made his comeback from a knee injury in straightforward fashion when taking a three runner Conditions Chase at Gowran. That suggested he retained plenty of zest, and if he retains all his ability then the rest are playing for second. Ball D’Arc is a useful chaser and a very admirable horse, but he has a mountain to climb if Min is at his best although he should beat Ordinary World once again, having accounted for him comprehensively in the Poplar Square.
Simply Ned has been 2nd and 3rd in the last two renewals of this race and is booked for minor honours once more whilst Woodland Opera is going to find this a lot tougher than the Craddockstown.
1.50 – Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo+): The undoubted potential of Real Steel and Sharjah make this a fascinating contest, but Mengli Khan has been impervious in his second season over hurdles and he will take a powerful amount of beating on the evidence of his storming victory in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle. Backed off the board through the morning, he relished the good gallop set there and whilst he took his time to get organised, once push came to shove he was well ahead of Early Doors at the line with Hardline 15 lengths back in third.
A falsely run race would not be helpful but if he gets a clear run he can prove too good once again. Real Steel and Sharjah have both impressed with their novice wins and should provide a good race whilst Le Richebourg wouldn’t have enjoyed the soft ground at Fairyhouse on his return from a break and should strip fitter back on the same sort of surface upon which he had impressed in the summer.
It is interesting to see that connections persist with Makitorix, the Listowel winner who made a bad mistake mid-race in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse and then had to be pulled up but the most interesting of Willie Mullins’ four charges is Whiskey Sour, who made a successful debut at Tramore over hurdles and then went onto win two very valuable, well contested races on the flat at Galway in the height of summer. It’s interesting that he makes the cut of four here and gets the assistance of David Mullins to boot and he looks big at 20/1.
Advice: 2 pts win Mengli Khan (6/5 general)
2.25 – Paddy Power ‘You Beauty’ Handicap Hurdle (4yo+): Loads in with chances. One of the best handicapped horses in the field on paper is Neverushacon, who is thrown in on his chasing form (rated 144, runs off 119 here), and perhaps this has been the plan for a while. If Tony Martin can get Quick Jack to repeat his fifth from the big handicap at Ascot last time then the field still struggle to keep up with him off 148, and the market will tell a lot regarding such prospects. Yaha Fizz, third in the Bar One Handicap Hurdle when Ben Dundee was sixth, should go well. The fine form of Henry De Bromhead gives a lot of weight to Trainweck’s chances.
3.00 – Paddy Power Chase (Extended Handicap) (Grade B) (5yo+ 0-150): This is one of the best renewals of this race in recent years – you needed to be 134 to make the cut – and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the winner had a touch of class here. The last time Anibale Fly ran over 3m he was second in the Growise Novice Champion Chase at Punchestown to previous Grade 1 winner DIsko, with Genie In A Bottle and A Toi Phil behind, and since then he has had two starts, both of them on ground far softer than he’d ideally want and over trips short of his best. They ought to have put him spot on for this test today and whilst he has a big weight, he’s earned it and a big field well run race has often suited him a lot in the past so there’s no reason he can’t outrun his price.
The second choice is another JP McMcanus horse in the shape of Oscar Knight, who has already proven that this test suits; He was third last year, albeit off a 6lbs lower mark, and his taking win in the Brown Lad Handicap Hurdle proves he is in fine heart for another crack at this. He makes slightly more appeal than the headline Gordon Elliott challenger Squouateur, who sharpened up nicely for this over 2 miles but who is still exposed going 2m5f, and definitely at 3m. He was travelling well at Cheltenham ion the Kim Muir when he unseated and he’s on a lowly mark considering that connections are now trying that trip once again.
Polidam’s deeply impressive performance when smashing up Acapella Bougeois in the Foxrock Handicap Chase has earned him favouritism here and he ought to take the beating here if repeating that performance, although the market is fully aware of that and it’s difficult to think of him as a value selection.
There’s a lot of big prices on offer, with the market focusing squarely on the top three, and it can pay to look around. Last seen finishing ninth in the Grand National after a bad mistake at Valentine’s (second time round), Pleasant Company had taken the Bobbyjo Chase before that and retains a great deal of interest for handicap chases, although he could well need this ahead of another tilt at the National.
The same applies to Ucello Conti, who was seventh last year off a 1lb lower mark, and an outsider to give you a run for your money could well be Bay Of Freedom, third in the Kerry National and Hickey Memorial Handicap, who goes on all ground and is in rock solid form. 25/1 seems an insult for a horse going so well.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Anibale Fly (18/1 Paddy Power), 1 pt each/way Oscar Knight (8/1 Paddy Power, Hills)
Paddy Power Games ‘One For The Road’ INH Flat Race (4-7yo): All about the potential here and not a surprise that Madison To Monroe and Carefully Selected, both of whom come here after winning Monksgrange maidens in the spring, are favourites although there’s a lot of unknowns through the field and it’s highly likely that Lone Wolf and Captain CJ will improve for their first runs with the latter sure to relish this trip.
12.45 – 32Red Casino Introductory Juvenile Hurdle (Class 2) (3yo): The best hurdles form here is Hulani’s third and it doesn’t look strong so this appears set to go to one of the three newcomers from the flat. £100,000 purchase King’s Inn, who was second in a Killarney maiden and has now move to Paul Nicholls, who has won this three times since 2011, is currently joint favourite with Salix, who won the Prix le Guales de Mezaubran (1m4f, Pornichet-La-Baule). Not far behind is Redocan, rated 81 for David O’Meara and a winner at Redcar over 1m6f on his last flat start, and the market will tell a lot in a watching brief.
1.20 – 32Red.com Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) (Class 1) (4yo+): This isn’t great for the grade. Shantou Rock was deeply impressive when beating The Unit at Newton Abbot on his chasing debut and he just failed to give 6lbs to Ozzie The Oscar at Warwick last time, giving him a rating of 148 which puts him 4lbs clear here. He should enjoy Kempton and be tough to peg back here. Paul Nicholls has two decent chances with Cryname (second at Newbury last time) and Testify (6th in the Scottish Champion Hurdle and perhaps too keen at Bangor last time) who should be involved. Kostaquarta looks outclassed.
2.30 – Unibet Desert Orchid Chase (Grade 2) (Class 1) (4yo+): Only four here but we’ve got a treat as Tingle Creek winner Politologue and Champion Chaser Special Tiara, who took this race last year. The market has it right in making Paul Nicholls’ 6 year old favourite off the back of a significant career best when he got the better of the dual Grade 1 winner Fox Norton, but perhaps he is too short at 8/15 in a four runner field with Special Tiara’s ground prevailing. This will be a fascinating tactical conundrum for Sam Triston Davies, who has plenty of stamina to spare on the favourite. Special Tiara made his usual comeback in the Shloer Chase on ground of no use to him and he should strip fitter as he has done when taking this race in 2014 and last year. He can make this a closer contest than odds suggest. Forest Bihan is a useful chaser but likely to be overmatched and the same goes for Vaniteux.
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12.10 Leopardstown – 1 pt win Kuraka (5/1 general)
1.50 Leopardstown – 2 pts win Mengli Khan (6/5 general)
3.00 Leopardstown – 1 pt each/way Anibale Fly (18/1 Paddy Power), 1 pt each/way Oscar Knight (8/1 Paddy Power, Hills)