Severn Sport’s Festive Racing Preview


As Christmas day is getting closer and closer by the minute here at Severn Sport we have a special pre-Christmas day present for you. The final appearance from our resident horse racing tipsters, Michael “The Fox” Hedley-Ward and Douglas “The Bear” Bowen. I will also be pitching in with some ideas too for to try and win some extra cash for those post Christmas sales.
We decided to concentrate on three of the biggest races over the festive period, the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow on Sunday 27th December to accompany the Boxing Day treats that are the Christmas Hurdle and King George VI Chase, both at Kempton Park. We will start with the big on Sunday and the Welsh Grand National. Over to to you, Michael Hedley-Ward.

MHW: Hi Ryan, first of all I would like to wish all of the boys at Severn Sport and everyone at home a very Merry Christmas, now let’s try and put some money in those pockets. In regards to the Welsh Grand National- one of my favourite races in the whole calendar its got to be said, is always a spectacle to behold. Three and a half miles in the mud at Chepstow on a cold December afternoon means you need a horse with a bit of heart to get you over the line. For my win selection I am going with last year’s winner Emperors Choice who got up in the dying strides to claim victory. Trained by local trainer Venetia Williams this strong stayer of a horse will take some beating. The horse will not be fazed by the conditions even if they deteriorate on the day and has been laid out for this after romping to an easy victory last month.
In terms of an each way bet I’m looking at O’Foalins Boy at the top of the weights. He is the class act of the race due to his Cheltenham Festival pedigree at between 12-16/1 he looks a massive price to me but he can cope with the weight and conditions to run a good race. If he stands his ground for the final declarations his odds will obviously shorten so keep an eye out for that.
I am attending the Welsh Grand National myself so it should be a great day let alone a great race.

As The Fox pointed out he is going to Chepstow for the festival race day and he will be looking to bag a big one in the Welsh Grand National, but who does the bear fancy? Let’s find out.

DB: Festive greetings to you mush! Hope everybody at home has a happy holiday season and I hope we can give you some spending money for the shops. For the Welsh Grand National I have decided to go for two each way shots. Ryan will be able to tell you that on a big race day like this I always look for each way value over straight wins. The first of my selections is last year’s winner Emperors Choice. Anyone who knows horse racing will know that big race pedigree is nothing to turn your nose up at, his experience in this race will prove crucial in the latter stages of this muddy trek. I am also going to be on Theatre Guide for a bigger each way price. He runs well and can handle the conditions. However a word of caution for you all before you have a punt, there are still so many declarations to be made and not every horse on the list for betting will make the big race.

The Venetia Williams trained Emperors Choice has taken the fancy of both The Fox and The Bear

Doug is right to warn you all about the chances of horses being removed in this race, I can’t vouch for right now but earlier in the week there were 72 horses named for the race. So keep an eye out for any withdrawals as we get closer to the race. For myself I agree with The Bear and that is the concept that for a big race like this which is expecting so many runners there is only one way of betting…well two ways and that is each way. So like my experienced counterpart I will give you two each way shots to keep your eye on. Firstly, Black Thunder. A horse I have backed and won money on in the past will have to hope for a good start in order to be there near the business end. He currently sits at about 16/1 so a good bit of value there. Secondly I am looking at a bigger priced horse in 33/1 shot Wyck Hill. One of the horses Doug has also mentioned to me in conversation and I agree with his testaments. A strong horse who will be looking to lay down a marker going in to the New Year.
Now we look at the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. Let’s see who The Fox and The Bear tip for this one, starting with the latter.

DB: For me there is only one winner of the King George and that is Vautour. This horse should win the race. As I always mention I always take big race pedigree into consideration and this horse cleans up at the big meetings. I really expect him to do the same on Saturday. In terms of my each way pick it has to be Silviniaco Conti. Now I know Ryan and Mike are not fans of Conti but he will be good for a place for me, he is strong enough and can last the test of the track. I can’t see him outside the places to be honest.

MHW: Ryan’s just told me who The Bear has picked Conti, what a clown. However I am going to be controversial and give you my one bet of the race. The only bet I plan on having for the race, an each way punt on Smad Place at 9/1. In a race with the strong Irish horses of Vautour and Don Cossack it will take something special from any horse to upset the apple cart so to speak, but after recent impressive runs in the last few weeks the Grey, Smad Place definitely takes my fancy.

Now now boys, its Christmas chill out. However I agree with old Foxy here, Conti is nothing. Not got a chance after unimpressive runs too frequently for me. I will be looking for a turn up for the books here and I think the turn up could be Don Cossack beating Vautour. It isn’t beyond the realms of possibility, especially with the betting as tight as it sits currently. In terms of an each way dark horse (if you’d pardon the pun) I will be looking at Irish Cavalier at 33/1. Again another horse I have bet on and won on previously. I tend to remember the horses that have delivered for me in the past so I will give the Cavalier the benefit of the doubt and will tip him.

Lastly the only thing left to discuss is the Christmas Hurdle, also at Kempton on Boxing Day. I asked the gentlemen who, if anyone, can challenge Faugheen for the crown, up first The Fox.

Faugheen will be looking to get back to winning ways after being beaten last time out at Punchestown

MHW: Even though he was beaten last time out at Punchestown I don’t think Faugheen will be beaten at all. I don’t think Ruby Walsh gave him the best of rides that day but I fully expect him to win this one. The only challenger really is The New One but with question marks over his fitness I can see why Faugheen can be found as short as 4/11 to take the Christmas Hurdle crown. It will be brief watching for myself as I don’t expect too many surprises. So signing off for 2015 The Fox hopes you have a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

DB: See for me I think The New One has a great chance at winning the Hurdle. Depending on runners too I would also look at Old Guard Each Way. But I will focus on The New One who has threatened for a while to deliver on the biggest stages and this would be a massive statement to make to turn over Faugheen the Machine. That’s me done I’m off for some cider. Merry Christmas me old fruits.

Thank you gents, see you guys in 2016 when we look ahead to another glorious Cheltenham Festival all gearing up the April’s Grand National. In terms of the Christmas Hurdle I think Hargam can potentially steal a place but the machine Faugheen has to deliver. It is the sign of a true champion to get beat and bounce back to winning ways instantaneously. Something I can see Faugheen doing, very comfortably.
That is our festive racing preview complete. Merry Christmas to all of our readers and listeners. Thank you for what has been a fantastic year so far for us at Severn Sport. Here’s for more of the same.

Ryan Butler