Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: UK Racing Tips - Thursday 26 December 2019

UK Racing Tips - Thursday 26 December 2019

UK Racing Tips - Thursday 26 December 2019

Neil Morrice brings us all of his best bets and tips for Thursday's racing at Wetherby, Wincanton, Market Ransen, Fontwell, Sedgefield, Wolverhampton and Kempton Park, including his feature race analysis for the Ladbroke King George VI Chase and Ladbroke Christmas Hurdle. 

Ladbroke King George VI Chase (Grade 1)
IT’S time to batten down the hatches and brace yourself for the ride of your life as the sport’s highest-rated horse CYRNAME puts his reputation on the line against LOSTINTRANSLATION and CLAN DES OBEAUX in an intriguing three-cornered battle for the traditional Christmas highlight.

Cyrname was stable jockey Harry Cobden’s choice of mount after Paul Nicholls decided to run his two best chasers, leaving Sam Twiston-Davies to pick up a tantalising spare ride on Clan Des Obeaux.

The once headstrong Cyrname humbled Waiting Patiently at Ascot on his final outing last season, that 17 lengths demolition job earning him a mark even higher than that of Altior. Very easy to back when returning over two miles and five furlongs at Ascot, he proceeded to demolish Altior with a master class of slick jumping to lead throughout. That was a first Grade 1 success for the 7yo who now needs to prove his stamina over three miles.

Clan Des Obeaux gives the champion trainer a massive second string to his bow as he bids to repeat his impressive 2018 triumph in this. The likely strong pace will perfectly suit the waiting game Twiston-Davies will play on the 7yo, who is reported to be a lot sharper for his first run back behind Road To Respect at Down Royal. Furthermore, Nicholls has farmed this contest with the likes of Silviniaco Conti and the legendary Kauto Star.

LOSTINTRANSLATION appears to have every available weapon in his armoury and the arrow Robbie Power will draw from his quiver will have ‘speed’ rather than ‘stamina’ branded onto it. Trainer Colin Tizzard knows that we’re this race run at Cheltenham the hugely exciting gelding would be an automatic favourite, but is nevertheless confident in his charge’s portfolio of natural talent to believe he can take down the Nicholls pair and I also think he can. A silk-smooth scorer on his reappearance in a graduation chase at Carlisle, he responded beautifully to new hold up tactics before pouncing on Bristol De Mai in Haydock’s Betfair Chase. He will again be ridden to come late and granted he has a useful turn of foot as well as all-round galloping power he’s all set to showcase this side of his character.

Stablemate THISTLECRACK boasts a win, a fourth and a second in this over the last three years. He’s not had a clear run physically in that period and therefore possesses a guage with few miles on its clock. He ran a blinder on his comeback over hurdles behind Paisley Park and needs respecting, even though he’s in the evening of his career.

Lone Irish challenger FOOTPAD didn’t impress with his jumping despite winning at Thurles and now moves up the three miles for the first time. He finds himself in a much tougher assignment, with greater pressure than ever on his accuracy over the fences.

Prediction

1st LOSTINTRANSLATION 

2nd Clan Des Obeaux

3rd Cyrname

4th THISTLECRACK

5th Footpad

Ladbroke Christmas Hurdle (Grade 1) 
NICKY Henderson is looking to plunder this for the third time in as many years but it’s not easy to know whether his chief protagonist is FUSIL RAFFLES, EPATANTE or last year’s shock scorer VERDANA BLUE.

FUSIL Raffles is the new kid on the hurdling block and unbeaten since joining the Henderson stable. However, he wasn’t overly impressive in beating Grand Sancy in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton and may find his two stablemates too hot to handle.

EPATANTE also began her career in France and came back to land some good bets in a Listed handicap at Newbury where she literally toyed with her opponents. It’s a shame that stablemate French Crusader, who finished second, wasn’t able to take his chance in the big hurdle at Ascot which would have given us a guide onto her chances.

VERDANA BLUE was last seen running on the Flat when fourth to Dee Ex Bee in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot in May. I’m nor prepared to let her subsequent absence put me off her, as she loves this track, and has been going great guns at home.

Switching back to hurdles, GETAWAY TRUMP is entitled to respect and it’s worth recalling how smart he was in this division. Equally, ELIXIR DE NUTZ will be fitter than when getting tired in Call Me Lord’s race at Cheltenham. BALLYANDY was an honorable second and the former Cheltenham Festival scorer shouldn’t be underestimated.

SILVER STREAK was unsuited by the slow pace in the ‘ Fighting Fifth’ Hurdle at Newcastle which ended up being gifted to Cornerstone Lad. Last season’s Champion Hurdle third will menace with his trademark turn of foot.

Prediction

1st VERDANA BLUE

2nd Epatante

3rd Ballyandy

4th Silver Streak

5th Fusil Raffles

6th Elixir De Nutz

Kempton Park Undercard Best Bets

Race 1: VEGAS BLUE (8)
Trainer: Nick Henderson 
Jockey: Nico de Boinville

Last season’s winning trainer looks to have to ready-made answer to a fascinating opener in VEGAS BLUE whose lucky owners also have the to0 class Verdana Blue in the stable. This filly has impressed on both career starts, latterly hosing up at Huntingdon at the start of this month. She faces strong opposition from Getaway Fred but her weight allowance plus the latter’s penalty greatly tip the scales in her favour.

Race 2: HOLD THE NOTE (7)
Trainer: Mick Channon 
Jockey: Tom Scudamore 

With Simply The Betts and Commanche Red in the field this was a hard one to call but HOLD THE NOTE can give this stable back-to-back success in this race and follow in the hoof prints of Glen Forsa. The selection has been given plenty of schooling since appearing to blow upon his reappearance at Ludlow. He looked in good order working on grass on Monday.

Race 3: BLACK OP (1) 
Trainer: Tom George 
Jockey: Jonathan Burke 

It was a tough decision to give in favour of BLACK OP over Slate House but the former has looked positive and assured in two novice chase outings since undergoing a wind operation. He sauntered home from the front at Stratford before losing no caste in defeat at the hands of Champ at Newbury. He lacked the finishing speed of that rival but is now moving up to his optimum distance of three miles. Slate House would have won the BetVictor Gold Cup but for his crumple on landing at the final fences and has subsequently converted a penalty kick at Huntingdon. He is a dangerous foe.

Wetherby Best Bets

Race 5: TOP VILLE BEN (2)
Trainer: Phil Kirby  
Jockey: Tom Dowson 

TOP VILLE BEN is a doughty foe when getting onto a handy lead and can achieve that in a race devoid of front runners. He attracted a welter of support at Newcastle last time and appeared to have everything stone cold 7ntil his fuel guage flashed red alert in the final 50 yards in which he went back from first to third. His astute trainer has kept him on the boil for this Grade 3 handicap chase in which he should prove hard to beat.

Race 6: YOUNG BULL (3)
Trainer: Harry Whittington
Jockey: Leighton Aspell 

YOUNG BULL has served us well with his wins here and at Ffos Las and now graduates into the handicap arena. He’s certainly not thrown in against a handful of equally in form rivals but his trainer is bullish on his chances of completing the hat-trick.

Wincanton Best Bets

Race 1: URBAN ARTIST (10)
Trainer: Hughie Morrison 
Jockey: Brendan Powell 

Having done us a favour when landing a Cheltenham bumper at 16-1, URBAN ARTIST can show her mettle over jumps. She’s schooled well and her work with Saturday’s runaway Ascot scorer Not So Sleepy makes her of serious interest.

Race 6: LE COEUR NET (4)
Trainer: Anthony Honeyball 
Jockey: Ben Godfrey 

After hanging away her advantage at Newbury last week, LE COEUR NET rates a winner without a penalty and should prove very hard to beat. He must have given away far more ground than the length he was eventually beaten by Defi Scare and having taken little out of himself is poised to make amends.

Market Rasen Best Bets

Race 1: DEW POND (6)
Trainer: Tim Easterby 
Jockey: David Noonan 

Although DEW POND has proved costly to follow he is of significant interest now dropped into a selling handicap hurdle. He troubled the judge on each of his last five starts over jumps last season and although beaten a country mile when reappearing at Sedgefield is a lot better than that. If he puts his best foot forward he should win.

Fontwell Best Bets

Race 1: SIXTIES SECRET (9)
Trainer: Sheena West 
Jockey: Marc Goldstein

Having gradually run into a bit of form I hope this is D-Day for SIXTIES SECRET. She’s been doing things in her own time but after a better effort behind a well-handicapped rival in Scrutinise is now back against fellow distaffers. Furthermore, she’s getting plenty of weight from everything else in the field.

Race 4: SPIRITOFCHARTWELL (7) (Each Way)
Trainer: Phil York 
Jockey: Marc Goldstein

The veteran SPIRITOFCHARTWELL doesn’t hold obvious claims but I fancy him to go well at a big price. He loves this course, will be happy over the trip and act on the ground and is going to relish a big pull back on the distance ladder.

Sedgefield Best Bets

Race 2: INDUNO (1)
Trainer: David Pipe 
Jockey: Conor O’Farrell 

Even under a penalty for his game success here last month, long-distance traveller INDUNO should be very hard to beat as he steps up a notch on the distance ladder. He prevailed over Stonific in the manner of a staying type and has his tail up for this hat-trick assignment.

Wolverhampton Best Bets

Race 3: QUEEN GAMRAH (2)
Trainer: Mark Johnston 
Jockey: Richard Kingscote 

Versatility is the watchword of QUEEN GAMRAH who scored over this mile at Kempton before following up over seven furlongs at Newcastle. That was on the same Tapeta surface she’ll encounter here, and from a good draw she can carry on the good work switched to handicapping.

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