Liverpool FC: Christmas Crack Me Up Challenge
I’m sure most eyes will be on England and particularly World Cup top scorer Harry Kane on Saturday afternoon, but his namesake could also be on the mark at Bellewstown.
Cantkidakidder is the obvious one in this given he was runner-up in the race a year ago, and comes here having gone very close on his last two starts, but it’s somewhat alarming to see him wearing blinkers for the first time. He’s finished unplaced on all four occasions when he’s had a change of headgear in the past, so the tinkering seems unnecessary, and is more likely to put him off his game than improve him. That opens the way for Damut I’m Out, who is lightly raced for his age, and unlike this largely regressive bunch, seems to be improving. He shaped better than the bare result at Uttoxeter last time, looking the winner at one point before weakening late behind one who has since followed up, and he was also hampered by that rival after the last, but for which he’d have been closer. It’s possible that he lacked peak fitness after a break there, but it’s more likely that he didn’t quite stay, and the drop back to 2½m will help him here. He’s one of only three in this race not wearing some kind of headgear, and that’s a fact which is worth noting. He’s ridden here by the promising Brien Kane, and hopefully that will be at least one Kane who can hit the back of the net on Saturday!
Tip: Damut I’m Out @ 4/1
It’s no surprise that Davy Russell rides Youghal By The Sea, as the gelding is owned and bred by his father Jerry. He’s sure to be popular having won his bumper here in August, but that hardly counts as strong form and his debut third over hurdles at Galway the following month is potentially flattering as he was always well positioned in a race in which winner Stratum set a very modest gallop. He could well improve, but hardly sets an exacting standard, and Bensachuine is preferred. Denis Hogan’s charge showed arguably better form in bumpers, and has been gaining valuable experience over timber since. He was a tad disappointing at Down Royal last time, but his front-running second to Niven at Ballinrobe at the end of May is a solid effort, and he is the only confirmed pace angle in this contest. His dam Almnadia won seven times on the flat and over hurdles on a sound surface, and his bumper form suggests that he can improve on what he’s already achieved over hurdles.
Tip: Bensachuine e/w @ 7/1
Once again, the market leaders look opposable in this 3m handicap hurdle, and Redclue could prove something of a blot on the handicap back over hurdles. Gillian Callaghan’s gelding has been fairly prolific over hurdles, but is nowhere near the same force over fences, so a couple of spins over the larger obstacles of late can be excused, except in the fact that they will ensure the gelding’s fitness. He’s won four from 15 in handicap hurdles, a record which improves to four from 11 away from soft or heavy ground, and is better still when considering such runs on left-handed tracks, when he has won three from four. He has shown that much of his ability remains over fences of late, and with conditions to suit back over the smaller obstacles, he can spring a minor surprise for his underrated trainer, who is as shrewd as any.
Tip: Redclue @ 20/1