Severn Sport Festive Racing Preview – Christmas Champion

Our horse racing coverage on Severn Sport in 2017 saw the Severn Sport Tipster League prove to be a popular means to follow tips and results of the major meetings, including Cheltenham in March, Aintree in April and Ascot in June. Well, for 2018 it is coming back!!

We are giving you a taste of what is to come by bringing you this look at some of the horse racing taking place over the next two days. There are three competitors, Ryan Butler (Bacon), Damon Highet (Sweet Prince) & former resident tipster Michael Hedley-Ward (The Fox). Three regulars in the tipster league have come together to crown our first ever Christmas Champion.

We will discuss 6 races taking place today and tomorrow and talking through the candidates before picking our winner and ultimately our festive Lucky 15. The winner will be the tipster who gets the biggest return to their Lucky 15 (to a 50p each way unit stake).

Boxing Day

Leopardstown
14:20 – Racing Post Novice’s Chase

R: A tough one for us to start with. A five runner Grade 1 race in Ireland on Boxing Day. Whilst I am a big fan of the jockey Jack Kennedy his current 20/1 outsider Avenir D’une Vie is getting cut adrift in the betting. Death Duty will attract a lot of punters but for me it is all about the favourite, Footpad.

D: Footpad made a Douvan like chase debut and was undoubtedly impressive so deserves favouritism in this race. However, Gordon Elliott’s 6 year old has a high class chasing experience and always runs to his mark so Death Duty gets the nod from me. However, if Jack Kennedy can get his tactics right on Avenir D’une Vie then I think he can go very close.

M: One of the first names that jumps out at me is Death Duty. A very good horse and with Davy Russell at the helm it could be a Boxing Day victory for Henry De Bromhead’s runner. The betting would indicate it is only really between Death Duty and Footpad but it is the kind of day and race that could even see Robbie Power lead 40/1 shot Jett to the winners enclosure.

Kempton Park
14:30 –  Unibet Christmas Hurdle

R: Another tough one. Again, five runners and again a couple of very good runners. It will be between Buveur D’Air at 2/11 favourite or The New One at 11/2. The rest – Old Guard, Mohaayed & Chesterfield, are 14/1, 66/1 & 66/1 respectively. I have to go with the Twiston-Davies saddled and ridden The New One for value’s sake!

D: It will be all about Buveur D’air really. His only feasible opponent is The New One who has had a heavy campaign so far with this being his 4th race. Buveur D’air has the class and will be ready.

M: I would say this race is a forgone conclusion as Buveur D’air is the one to beat. I don’t think some of the card are up to the same speed so for betting wise I am going Old Guard each way!

15:05 – 32Red King George VI Chase

R: Now we are talking! Just look at the card for a second. 8 runners who could all stake a claim in this one. After the performances of Bristol De Mai and Might Bite in recent runs you can see why they are the front runners in the betting but I am going for the winner of this race 365 days ago, Thistlecrack. Tom Scudamore knows the horse well and has got the best (and worst) out of him, we are in for a great race! I would also not rule out Fox Norton spoiling the apple cart!!

D: It has to be Bristol De Mai. He won by an absolute street in a Grade 1 at Haydock in the cold and in the mud. It is the highest rated chasing performance by any horse this season and he will take some beating here. Thistlecrack is a gamble in itself given his last run and Might Bite can lose his head a bit, so looking at the prices Bristol De Mai screams value. However on his day Might Bite may be too hard to catch.

M: For the value punters this is a much better race. With 8 runners there is a wider spread of value and it makes for a more entertaining race for me. Now I have to back a runner that I have a soft spot for and that is Whisper. Whisper is a horse that knows his way around a big race and has the calibre to spoil the party for Might Bite & Bristol De Mai. I am also a fan of Thistlecrack but he didn’t light the world up in his last run.

Wednesday 27th December

Leopardstown
13:50- Paddy Power Future Champion Novice Chase

R: An absolute minefield. Expect this one to be a bit of a slog. There are a few experienced heads in Le Richebourg, Hardline and Trainwreck in this one but I am going for the French runner Sharjah to complete a hattrick of wins.

D: Mengli Khan. I am sticking to what I know here as I followed this runner on the flat and whilst it being pretty disappointing I am delighted to see this horse develop into a top classic Novice Hurdler. I wouldn’t think about putting up anything else here.

M: Gordon Elliott has a couple of good runners in this race in Mengli Khan and my pick, Hardline. He boasts more experience than some of the other runners but looking at his form he has has always been there or there abouts so I would expect a similar result here.

Chepstow
14:10 – Coral Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle

R: The early bookies favourite is the one I am eyeing up here, Sussex Ranger. I have followed the American runner for a while and have seen him sweep away all in front of him, it wouldn’t surprise me if he does so again!

D: I would have been all over Mitchouka but the French runner was declared a non-runner a couple of days ago. This means I have had to switch up strategies and as such I am onto countryman, Mercenaire. The horse won on its second start in convincing fashion The form doesn’t show much but the Nick Williams team know how to win a big race, as they proved with a big win at Ascot on Saturday.

M: I like value and I like going for the longer shots, espcially in races like this. It is another tough race might I add! For me it is wider than the better would suggest and I am looking the way of Look My Way. I think at 11/2 currently it offers good value and it ensures that you will get a good run for your money.

14:50 – Coral Welsh Grand National handicap Chase

R: Just like the English and Irish Grand National’s the Welsh counterpart will be an absolute slug fest. Chepstow usually sees rain in and around race day too so expect mud and a gruelling race. There are a few that catch my eye in this one with Regal Encore, Splash of Ginge and Silsol being very respected as well as Severn Sport Tipster League Houblon des Obeaux being present. But I am giving it to Beware The Bear, who is nearer the heavy end of the scales but in a race like this I think it will work to his advantage!

D: I think Vicente at 12/1 is disappointing. Mainly for me as a punter as I would obviously like to see more of a return. Plus, he is top weight so he does have to carry nearly 12 stone around for 3 and a half miles. Nevertheless, this horse stays all day long and has a great record in National Chases. Comes into this in top form and is the most likely winner for me.

M: Well, just like the English Grand National its all about taking your pick. Picking the needle in the stack of needles in a race where it can be all over before its even begun. I think it is important to stick to what you know in a race like this. I think the mid weighted Mysteree has a sniff and at 12/1 shows a decent price considering some of the horses also included. Houblon des Obeaux knows his way round a big race as does Vicente. As I said, take your pick!

Festive Lucky 15’s (5op each way unit stake – prices will be SP)

R: The New One, Thistlecrack, Beware The Bear, Sharjah

D: Bristol De Mai, Mengli Khan, Vicente, Mercenaire

M: Mysteree, Whisper, Old Guard, Death Duty

And there we have it! Who will be our Christmas Champion? We will know by 3 o’clock tomorrow afternoon!! As always, here at Severn Sport we encourage you to bet responsibly.