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A couple of festive treats in store for the Irish racing fan. The Savills Chase has attracted a big field. There’s no shortage of quality either. Hopefully, for the sake of my ante post portfolio, we will get to see next year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup winner.
The Christmas Hurdle could realistically have the next Stayers Hurdle winner in it. It’s great to see this level of competition. These races should be hunted down like the prize truffles they are.
It’s a trappy enough punting card. Hopefully we can dig out a winner or two. Despite the storm which raged on Saturday night, the ground will be no worse than soft.
We get an extra place in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle at 12.40 pm. The Bosses Oscar has never finished outside of the first five in nine career starts. I doubt he’ll start here. He has put in a couple of solid shifts on the two occasions he has run in handicaps.
He was a victim of the much maligned standing starts at the Cheltenham Festival. He was a distant second on his most recent effort in Navan. He probably caught a tartar that day. The winner takes on the big boys in the Christmas Hurdle. A couple of sloppy jumps didn’t help either.
That department of his game needs to improve. That should come with experience. He gets to race off just a pound higher mark here.
He’s likely to be favourite but not a prohibitively short one. He looks sure to go very close.
The next bet comes in that Christmas Hurdle. I find it hard to split Sire Du Berlais and Fury Road. Both look to be improving, and as mentioned before have legitimate pretensions to the Stayers Hurdle crown.
I can’t get past the price of The Storyteller though. This horse ran second to Sire Du Berlais in the Pertemps Final. He was beaten a half a length, getting three pounds. Even allowing for the fact that Sire may have greater potential, the price discrepancy between the two for this race looks too great.
That’s before we factor in the fact that The Storyteller may be improving himself. It’s possible to pick holes in his latest win in Down Royal but that was a well contested Grade 1 Chase. This horse seems bombproof.
Fences, hurdles, trips to America. Nothing seems to faze him. I expect another solid run here. That may prove good enough. He certainly merits an each way tickle at a double figure price.
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The bet of the day comes in the Savills Chase. Regular readers will be unsurprised to hear it’s Minella Indo. This race is a tactical puzzle. Minella Indo has deep stamina reserves.
There are a number of horses in this race stepping up in trip. There is no obvious pacemaker.
Minella Indo’s two bloodless wins this season should encourage Rachel Blackmore to ensure a good gallop. He has relaxed beautifully in both of those races.
Very encouraging signs for a horse who has raced freely in the past. I expect Minella Indo to bounce out in front, setting a strong tempo.
His accurate jumping will help maintain that rhythm. If that’s the case, I can see him shelling his opponents in the latter stages. Anything above 2/1 looks worthy of a meaty wager.
If Limerick can defy the weather gods, I will chance Articulum in the handicap chase at 2.45 pm. This horse made a most encouraging comeback in Navan recently.
He has a good record fresh but was friendless in the market that day. I’d be hopeful of improvement. There are a lot of F’s in his record.
There have also been a few from those of us that have backed him to be fair. He’s a fundamentally sound jumper though. He will also relish the ground, and enjoys a class edge here.
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