Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up four tips at Kempton and Wolverhampton on Boxing Day. View selections below.
CUE CARD (3.10) can finally deliver the goods in a sizzling William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton. Colin Tizzard’s popular gelding has come up short in three attempts but now looks a different specimen following a wind operation.
He thumped dual winner Silviniaco Conti in the Betfair Chase at Haydock, following an equally impressive seasonal return in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby. The Tizzard stable harbours the Ladbrokes World Hurdle favourite in Thistlecrack and Cue Card can also fly the flag with distinction for the home team.
The Irish endured a barren 25 years before Florida Pearl struck in 2001, quickly followed by dual winner Kicking King, and they field favourite Don Cossack. Gordon Elliott’s ace handed out a 26-length annihilation of Cue Card in the Melling Chase at Aintree and was an emphatic victor over Djakadam and Road To Riches at Punchestown. Don Cossack will find Cue Card a different proposition but is still the one to beat.
Vautour provides some extra Irish va va vroom and remains a horse of untapped potential. However, Willie Mullins’s exuberant young chaser has still to prove he stays three miles in top company and they won’t be hanging around with Hennessy hero Smad Place and Silviniaco Conti helping to set a searching gallop.
SIRABAD (1.25) is having his third run over fences after ending his novice hurdle career with a stylish success at Sandown in March. The ex-French recruit’s introduction to the bigger obstacles was a less happy affair, with trail-blazing Ar Mad exposing Sirabad’s lack of experience at Sandown, a formidable test of jumping for any young horse. Paul Nicholls’s five-year-old looked much more assured at Carlisle when running smart On Tour to less than a length and he has a nice racing weight of 10st 13lb.
Barry Geraghty seems quite sweet on the chances of MATORICO (3.45) in the William Hill World Darts Championship Hurdle, despite the four-year-old being lumbered with a big weight in a tough handicap.
Jonjo O’Neill’s novice scored at Huntingdon before finding the concession of 7lb to Duke Des Champs too much at Market Rasen. That winner was beaten on the nod by Masterplan at Ascot last weekend when a mistake at the penultimate flight cost him victory. With 16 runners declared, Matorico makes plenty of each-way appeal.
At Wolverhampton, COOKIE ROYALE (1.35) can underline his liking for the track by mopping up the Download The New Unibet Racing App Conditions Stakes. The Scottish raider ran out of his skin here last week when valiantly attempting to concede lumps of weight to some useful all-weather handicappers. He is very well treated here as long as this run doesn’t come too quick.
Compare horse racing odds and bet at the best prices