It’s good to be in the Top Performers table leading up to Christmas with 36% strike rate the Max gamble (Krystallite) at the Hampton on Monday hit the track books hard, the plan worked a treat when you get told the second in the betting is no good you just lump on the jolly with confidence.
The stunning win from Thistecrack at Ascot last Saturday has shook up the betting of the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival with the big firms running scared cutting the Tizzard hurdler into 3/1 clear favorite. He was mighty impressive at Ascot and is clearly on the upgrade and looks the one they have to beat at the festival in March.
The New Year gets off to the perfect start at Cheltenham Racecourse with a cracking seven-race programme on New Year’s Day, Friday, January 1, 2016.
Running from 12.10pm through to 3.40pm, New Year’s Day at the Home of Jump Racing features two Grade Two contests – the £40,000 Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle (3.05pm, 2m 4f, 2m 4f 56yds) and the £32,000 Betbright #realfansonly Novices’ Chase (1.20pm, 2m 4f 166yds). The richest race of the day is the £60,000 Betbright Best For Festival Betting Handicap Chase (1.55pm, 2m 4f 166yds). The gates open at 10.30am.
The Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle takes place for first time on New Year’s Day, having previously been run at The International in mid-December. Last year’s race was won by 2012 Stan James Champion Hurdle victor Rock On Ruby, while More Of That took the race in 2013 en route to glory in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at The Festival.
Cole Harden landed the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at The Festival last season and trainer Warren Greatrex plans to run his stable star in the Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle prior to a return to The Festival in March.
The six-year-old made his seasonal reappearance at Newbury on November 28, finishing a staying-on third to Thistlecrack in the Grade Two Long Distance Hurdle.
Upper Lambourn-based Greatrex said: “Cole Harden will be heading to the Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.”
“He came out of his run at Newbury very well and looks great. I am very happy with him. He was third in the Relkeel last year and, fingers crossed, he can go a bit better this year.”
“The plan at the moment will be to run on New Year’s Day and then go straight for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle. We want the tank full for March.”
Midnight Prayer at 12/1 looks a player in the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow over the Christmas Holiday.
At Leopardstown on Boxing Day Don Poli will go off a short price favorite for the Lexius Chase and with a good round of jumping should win.
Faugheen can win the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day with flying colours and strengthen his claims for Cheltenham. The Hennessy Gold Cup hero is set for a tilt at the King George at Kempton Park Boxing Day and looks worth a E/W punt at 9/1 with Sky Bet.
Merry Christmas Troops.
Yours In Sport.
Back Next Thursday.
Kevan Minter – The Colonel.