Liverpool FC: Christmas Crack Me Up Challenge
Knight To Behold did us a 7/1 favour when winning Lingfield’s Derby Trial on Saturday and there were many who considered it a bit of a fluke result with Richard Kingscote stealing the race from the front.
I’m not convinced – and felt Harry Dunlop’s progressive colt was going away again at the end – despite carting his jockey for the first half-mile. In my opinion there have been worse 20/1 shots for the Derby although Guineas’ winner Saxon Warrior remains the 10/11 favourite ahead of yesterday’s Derrinstown Stud Stakes at Leopardstown.
I also feel that the unbeaten Oaks Trial winner Perfect Clarity will run a big race at Epsom next month for Clive Cox. Lah Ti Dar is the 7/2 market leader.
At Kempton Park this afternoon, Queen’s Magic is likely to be all the rage on her hurdle debut for Neil Mulholland having finished third in a valuable Cheltenham Bumper last month. I just favour Potters Sapphire (2.40) back on a flat right-handed track, however, and she looks a decent each way alternative for Lucy Wadham. The selection caught my eye when a fast finishing second over the minimum trip at Market Rasen on her penultimate start and today’s better ground should suit.
Bandsman (3.15) makes his chase debut for Dan Skelton this afternoon off the same mark as when winning a hurdle event last week over two miles. The horse jumped slightly out to the right at Warwick and this track and step up in trip really should suit. If he takes to the larger obstacles, he will be very hard to beat.
Cheltenham De Vaige (3.45) can go well fresh and returns from a six-month lay off in the novices’ handicap hurdle for Paddy Brennan and Fergal O’Brien. The selection runs off a 5lbs higher mark than when second at Huntingdon over a similar trip when he would have gone very close had he not fluffed his lines at the last. He can be a bit keen so a true gallop to chase would suit.
Nikki Steel (6.30) finished second at Ludlow last week in an amateur riders’ contest and Sam Twiston-Davies takes over in the saddle on the eight-year-old this evening at Towcester. The stiffer track really ought to suit.
Potters Sapphire 4/1
Cheltenham De Vaige 85/40
Nikki Steel 15/8
There is a cracking mile-and-a-half handicap at Wolverhampton and Teaser (3.25) is one of a number of lightly-raced sorts who are likely to improve stepping up in trip with experience. The selection travelled like a smart horse over an extended mile last time and gets the nod over another handicap debutant Silver Crescent representing powerful connections.
At Catterick, Dayking (3.05) has only raced once to date for Saeed Bin Suroor but this 4-year-old showed plenty on his sole start at Wolverhampton over 12 months ago to suggest he could give weight away to his younger rivals. Kevin Stott takes the ride on this Dubawi colt.
The best race of the day is at Windsor this evening and the listed Foundation Stakes over the Mile. Arod ran with considerable promise on his comeback, but is drawn out on the wing and marginal preference is for the nine-year-old Sovereign Debt (6.50) who gave weight and a beating to Oh This Is Us at Epsom last term and has had a recent run under his belt to blow away the cobwebs.
Starboy failed to get competitive from a poor draw at Pontefract last time and George Scott’s potentially well-treated 3-year-old is reluctantly overlooked tonight as he is posted out in stall twelve.
Go Fox (8.20) ran his best race when third on his final juvenile start at Kempton when he pulled hard but travelled well when finishing third – he might have been let in off a decent mark for his handicap debut.
A cracking card at Killarney this evening and in the Killarney National I hope Auvergnat (7.40) can transfer his excellent X-Country form back to these regulation fences. I feel he could be very well handicapped.
Sovereign Debt 7/2
Go Fox 14/1