With Kempton failing an inspection on Christmas Eve, the jumps action on Boxing Day is left solely with Fontwell, though they too must pass an inspection at 11am on Christmas Day.
If it goes ahead Peveril (12:35) is fancied to make a winning debut over fences in the opening 2m4f beginners’ chase.
This is no easy assignment for Nicky Henderson’s six-year-old, but he is a potentially exciting recruit to fences and did nothing but improve over hurdles last season.
A winner of his first three, he went on to finish fourth to Pause And Clause off a mark of 138 in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham and finished third behind Grands Crus and Barafundle (a winner the following week at Newbury) off 140 on his seasonal return at Haydock last month.
It will be disappointing if he doesn’t make up in to a better chaser in time and jockey Andrew Tinkler has won on him twice, though it will be interesting to see if Barry Geraghty makes the trip down, following the abandonment of Kempton.
Tinkler will be hoping Geraghty stays away, as he has a very good chance of completing a double in the very next race aboard Semi Colon (1:10), a filly he rode to win a Hereford bumper last time.
The daughter of Robin Des Champs looks to have the size to take to hurdling and the step up to 2m4f is also likely to be in her favour.
Henderson showed the wellbeing of his string by saddling two winners and two seconds from five runners on Kemptons’s all-weather bumper card on Tuesday and the Lambourn handler is fancied to add to him impressive 29% strike-rate at the track over the past five seasons (strike-rate is 50% in chases with four of his eight runners successful).
I will be back on Monday when, hopefully, Kempton will be staging a bumper card that will include the King George and the Christmas Hurdle, though for some reason the third Grade 1, the Feltham Novices’ Chase, has been given the chop.
Boxing Day’s Selections:
12:35 Fontwell: Peveril
1:10 Fontwell: Semi Colon
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Last year’s selections included:
Hurricane Fly: 3/1 winner of the G1 Rabobank Champion Hurdle
Copper Bleu: 12/1 winner of the Jewson at Cheltenham
Great Endeavour: 18/1 winner of the Festival Plate
Tranguil Sea: 11/2 winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup
Sizing Europe: 6/1 winner of the Arkle
Weapon’s Amnesty: 10/1 winner of the RSA Chase