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Matt Chapman: My 12/1 fancy for the Becher Chase can put a dent in Paddy’s Christmas cheer

by Matt Chapman | December 6, 2013

There’s top racing wherever you look both in the UK and across the Irish Sea so it’s a good chances to rip into Paddy Power’s Xmas profits. You hear me Paddy?

Sprinter Sacre looked a cert for the Tingle Creek at Sandown – but in terms of finding the winner of the 2m Sandown showpiece it’s good news he is out!

I am full of confidence SIRE DE GRUGY (3pm) will pick up the pieces. If you went on ratings alone he is home and hosed already. His price looks big enough to me at around 13/8 on Friday for a clear top-rated in the race.

I am a huge fan of this horse, and the only part of his make-up that worries me is that he can be a bit dozy at the odd fence.

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However, he has won three of his last four starts and I think he was unlucky to be be mugged by Kid Cassidy at Cheltenham last time. His form at Sandown is 231 and that includes a third in the Paddy Power Imperial Cup and a win in the Celebration Chase.

Big run expected 

Over at Aintree I am hoping for a big run from ACROSS THE BAY in the 3m 2f Becher Chase (2.05pm). I was lucky enough to sit with his owners at a lunch on Monday and I think they are very hopeful. He was 14th in this year’s Grand National but was a pretty good hurdler at his best and brings in a slice of class here off a mark of 146.

At 12/1 with Paddy paying the first five places I’m all over it. You hear me Paddy!

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Punchestown will be buzzing on Sunday with the John Durkan Memorial Chase – not only because it is a cracking renewal but also in remembering the man who found Istabraq!

The trip of 2m 4f is probably on the short side for Cheltenham Gold Cup second Sir Des Champs who is clearly top rated. Flemenstar did not impress everyone first time up for Tony Martin.

I think it’s worth taking a chance with ARVIKA LIGEONNIERE (Sun, 1.35pm), who has tons of ability and might just be capable of a small upset with Ruby Walsh on board. He’s a tank and won well at Clonmel first time out.

So I hope you enjoy another brilliant weekend of racing – and remember every winner we have is one less Christmas present under Paddy’s tree. Yeeehaaa!

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