Merry Christmas everyone – I even hope Paddy has a good one! You hear me Paddy?
I’m in the festive spirit, and as it’s the time of year for giving I’ve come up with a Lucky 31 (5 selections) over the Christmas period to get stuck into.
This blog will never be one to tip the favourite over and over – what’s the point in that?
Those who kindly read what I have to say will know the market leader has a good chance. What I try to do if look for something at a price – we nearly pulled it off with Flaxen Flare (16-1) at Ascot last weekend. He was third and rewarded each-way punters.
Let’s start with the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day. Without doubt the value in this race is the previous dual winner Long Run – who is wearing a visor for the first time.
Long Run has flopped in two races this season – but if the headgear works he’s a massive price. This is his track, and I’m happy to give him one more chance before I accept he’s gone at the game. Remember he’s only an eight-year-old.
The Kempton Christmas Hurdle the same day appears to be a match between My Tent or Yours and The New One. The track is probably more suitable for My Tent or Yours as he’s a speed animal. But I can’t help thinking tactics matter to him more than
The New One who’ll be the selection. He looks top class.
On Friday all eyes will be on the Grade 1 Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet-Chase at Leopardstown.
I’m going to contradict myself here because I just can’t get away from the favourite in Willie Mullins’ Arvika Ligeoniere. He’s absolutely top draw to me and while Sizing Europe has his measure on ratings, I’m not sure he’s still worthy of a mark of 167.
Top class form
Saturday sees the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow. As is often is the case it this marathon – it will take part on on desperate ground! You need an improving plodder for this and the one I like is the Irish raider Goonyella. This horse loves an extreme test in extreme going and he’ll certainly get that. As a six-year-old he’s open to improvement as well.
Just 20 minutes after the Welsh National we can get stuck into the Grade One Lexus Chase at Leopardstown. The big two in the market are the Gold Cup hero Bobs Worth and Gold Cup runner-up Sir Des Champs.Both blotted their copy book on their seasonal debuts.
Both could win, but have a little each-way on Rubi Ball. He’s got some top class form in France – beat Long Run in a Grade One – and will love the mud. At a tasty price he might just give the big guns something to worry about and clearly should have won on his Irish debut over hurdles.
So good luck everyone and have a fabulous Christmas – let’s hope lots of Paddy’s money is under our tree! Yeeehohoho!
- VIDEO: Ruby Walsh’s essential tips for the jumps season
- Ruby Walsh’s King George VI Chase preview: Why Cue Card won’t fluff his lines at Kempton