Liverpool FC: Christmas Crack Me Up Challenge
Nicky Henderson is optimistic that his leading RSA Chase candidate Santini will be in the field for the Grade 1 Novice Chase over 3m at Cheltenham next week. The novice jumped 10 fences at Newbury on Sunday but lost a shoe at the Berkshire track and Henderson felt it prudent to put a poultice on his foot.
The novice drifted out to 4/1 (from 9/4) for the RSA with BetVictor (Non Runner No Bet) in the immediate aftermath of the scare, but he was back in to 10/3 by noon on Tuesday for next Wednesday’s contest. Gordon Elliot’s Delta Work is 2/1 market leader at BetVictor from 5/2.
Only 27 runners were declared for the meeting at Arena Racing Company-owned Fontwell this afternoon as the spat between trainers and the company over reduced level prize money moves up a gear.
Away For Slates (4.10) didn’t jump as well as the runner up Cruiseaweigh at Doncaster on Friday but still came home a good winner and he is taken to follow up with today’s slower ground holding no terrors.
Away For Slates (4.10) 1/2
Over at Catterick and Las Tunas would have been the selection at Newcastle, but he has not run well at the Garrison track on his two previous visits. The vote goes to Greybougg (3.50) who returns from a three-month lay-off for Nigel Hawke whose yard have hit top form in recent days.
The selection gets further than today’s minimum trip and he faces a likely battle for the lead, but I have been impressed by amateur jockey Kieran Buckley who looks good value for his 7lbs claim. There is rain forecast and the more the merrier for the 10-y-old who makes the long journey up from Devon.
Greybougg (3.50) 7/1
At Kempton this evening a check of the market is advised for Hugo Palmer’s newcomer Ironclad who is bred to be smart and wouldn’t have to be anything out of the ordinary to make a winning debut. Oisin Murphy is fast becoming the go-to jockey and it should be noted that he rode Palmer’s winner Mootasdir at Wolverhampton on Monday evening and Sundiata at Dunstall Park for Prince Khalid Abdullah – who owns Ironclad.
With that in mind it is perhaps significant that Murphy rides the filly I’m Available (6.00) for Andrew Balding. The selection does of course ride plenty of winners for Balding, but he has only ridden for the trainer in Doha during the last couple of weeks. I hope to see I’m Available build on the promise of her two starts including over 7f here on debut when a staying on fourth.
The dogs were barking Don Jupp (6.30) before his racecourse debut and he duly obliged when winning over C&D last month. He must carry a 6lbs penalty for that 2l success this evening but could develop into a good all-weather performer for Marco Botti.
The feature race is the £70,000 “Road To Kentucky Derby” Conditions event. Jahbath (7.00) has won three of his four career starts including two over this evening’s C&D and he will surely be hard to beat for William Haggas.
It could be a very good night for Jim Crowley who rides Ironclad and Jahbath as well as Global Tango (7.30) who is well drawn and looked ready for a step up in trip when staying on over 6f at Kempton last time.
I’m Available (6.00) 13/2
Don Jupp (6.30) 13/8
Jahbath (7.00) 11/8
Global Tango (7.30) 13/2
Friday’s Dundalk card was abandoned after two races because of a medical issue but the BetVictor-sponsored card has been rescheduled for this evening including the Fillies’ Conditions event and I Can Fly (6.45) can make a winning reappearance for Aidan O’Brien. The filly finished runner up in the Group 1 QEII last season and looks sure to run in several of the big mile/10f races over the summer.
In the feature the listed BetVictor Patton Stakes Western Australia (7.15) has never raced on an artificial surface and has a poor draw in stall seven – of eight – but he ended last season finishing third in the Vertem Security Group 1 contest – formerly Racing Post Trophy – over a mile and that is obviously the best form on offer.
I Can Fly (6.45) 1/3
Western Australia (7.15) 6/5