Paul Ferguson three selections for us on Boxing Day; Imada in the 12:45 at Huntingdon; Whistle Dixie in the 2:45 at Limerick and Flying Angel in the Kempton 3.45. Compare odds and bet.
As you’d expect, Kempton stages an absolutely corking card on Boxing Day, starting off with a fairly deep looking renewal of the 2m novices’ hurdle.
With the exception of the Christmas Hurdle, which looks a penalty kick for last year’s winner Faugheen, the Grade 1s look really competitive. I expect a bold show from Tea For Two in the Feltham, on a track at which he excelled over hurdles, but the slight concern about the trip is enough to put me off at the current odds (9-4 best).
This year’s King George looks a cracker and the depth to the race is the only thing preventing me from having a small investment on Valseur Lido, who is another who relishes going right-handed.
Instead I’m prepared to watch and enjoy the showpiece, while the concluding handicap hurdle looks another competitive affair. Sugar Baron looked a smart prospect on his hurdles debut, as did Gunner Fifteen when winning a novice hurdle last winter, but both have questions to answer after their latest outings, so it could be worth looking further down the market for a bit of value.
Simply A Legend impressed with the way he travelled en route to winning at Sandown on Tingle Creek day and a 5lb rise seems fair but, at the prices (twice the price at 20-1 at the time of writing) Flying Angel (3:45) is worth backing each-way.
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ novice looked smart when winning at Worcester on debut and he lost little in defeat when runner-up under a penalty at Aintree next time. He flopped when dropped in trip on worse ground earlier this month, but the return to further and on less testing ground are in his favour here. The winner was also allowed a soft lead last time and the bare result might not tell the whole story.
Ryan Hatch’s mount is a smooth traveller and appeals as the type that might improve in a strongly run race such as this. He can go well at rewarding odds.
Another son of Arcadio that looks worthy of support is Imada (12:45) in the extended 2m3f novices’ hurdle at Huntingdon.
Nicky Richards’ five-year-old looked good when winning on debut in a bumper at Ayr last term and he scored at the same track on his hurdles debut in late October. He travelled strongly that day and should appreciate the step up in trip.
This doesn’t look a bad little heat and the selection is penalised, but he looks more than useful and I was slightly surprised he opened up second in the market (5-2) on Wednesday evening.
Over in Ireland, it isn’t just Leopardstown that stages a strong card, with decent action coming from Limerick. It wouldn’t be a huge shock if Outlander confirmed the beginners’ chase form with Free Expression (despite the market saying otherwise) in the Grade 2 novice, but the Gigginstown horse to back on the card is Whistle Dixie (2:45) who should prove much better than an opening mark of 119 in time.
Gordon Elliott’s smart bumper performer won her maiden just 12 days ago and, though the drop in trip isn’t exactly ideal, she can outclass her opponents in this mares’ only handicap.
Kevin Sexton’s mount opened up 2-1 (Paddy Power) on Wednesday evening; expect her to prove well supported come post time on Saturday.
Boxing Day selections:
12:45 Huntingdon: Imada
2:45 Limerick: Whistle Dixie
3:45 Kempton: Flying Angel (each-way)
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