It is a little disappointing about the travel restrictions, as it always adds a bit of depth to have an Irish horse or two in the King George at Kempton Park on Boxing Day. Nevertheless it is a quality race this year. I think you’d have to side with Clan Des Obeaux again. Paul Nicholls won’t have had him fully tuned up at Haydock and he’s sure to come on for the run. He’s been there and done it before.
Cyrname is clearly a good horse and won well in Wetherby first time, but I just wonder is he a little overrated and I also wonder if Santini has the tactical speed for a King George around Kempton.
Colreevy has solid claims at Limerick
I ride Coolreevy for Willie in the Grade 1 Faugheen Novices’ Chase at Limerick on Boxing Day and you won’t find too many novice races as good or as competitive as this one over Christmas. Things just didn’t happen for Asterion Forlonge at Cheltenham, but he looked good going right-handed at Punchestown last time and he is the one we will all have to beat.
Assemble ran well behind Envoi Allen last time, Janadil was impressive first time up, while Pencilfulloflead easily beat Latest Exhibition last month. Coolreevy’s jumping was very good in Punchestown and although Asterion Forlonge will be hard to beat, I’d be hopeful I can pick up any pieces.
Race run to suit Darver Star
Blackbow and Franco De Port were impressive in what were fairly weak beginners’ chases last time out and both should improve, but the Grade 1 Racing Post Novices’ Chase is obviously a very good race.
With Felix Desjy’s running style he will probably make the running here and I just wonder if Darver Star can jump a bit better around Leopardstown on nicer ground, will he be able to bounce back to form in this one.
Chacun Pour Soi one to look forward to
Chacun Pour Soi is a horse I have an awful lot of time for. Even though he looked good in Cork first time out, he’s had three weeks at home to tighten up and I think you’re going to see an even better horse again in the Grade 1 on Sunday. Notebook is an up and coming horse but does he really have the level of form to serve it up to Chacun? I’m not so sure.
I would’ve thought that an Arkle winner (Put The Kettle On) coming in here would be one to give Chacun Pour Soi the most to do, but I think they all have a lot on their plates to beat him.
Horses to look forward to later on in the Leopardstown Christmas Festival
I’ll touch on some horses to look out for later in the Christmas period, obviously we’ll have to wait for confirmation of runners but there’s a few obvious ones to note.
Kemboy and A Plus Tard the Savills Chase forgotten horses
Minella Indo is my idea of the biggest danger to Al Boum Photo in the Gold Cup in March and he has every right to be favourite. I think A Plus Tard who got beat in Navan and Kemboy who got beat in Thurles will both improve massively for those runs and can put it up to Minella Indo.
Saint Roi tough to beat, but don’t discount Sharjah
JP McManus has a very strong hand in the two mile division and with a clear run through, he’s the one they’ll all have to beat in the Matheson Hurdle on Tuesday. Depending on the ground, you couldn’t discount Sharjah running a big race if the rain stays away, but it’s Saint Roi for me.
Another Grade 1 in the works for Monkfish
Monkfish is one to look forward to seeing out again in the Grade 1 Neville Hotels Novice Chase, a race he should win en route to bigger things. Conflated is a decent sort but his form may be a little flattering in context of the requirements at this level. Latest Exhibition is another danger, but he was disappointing last time out and Monkfish should have few troubles here.
A couple of Banker types for Christmas
Micro Manage makes his hurdling debut in the 12.00pm at Leopardstown for Willie on Boxing Day and is a horse who jumps well at home. He brings Group race form to the table from the flat and you’d think a clear round would be enough for him to win.
The horse I’m most looking forward to seeing on debut is Cool Jet in the 3.25pm bumper race at Leopardstown, again on the 26th. I mentioned him to you guys last time and he didn’t run then, but makes his track debut now and I just think he is a nice horse to look forward to.