2m (Winter) Get Your £1 Ladbrokes Free Bet Today Novices’ Hurdle (Class 2) (4yo+)
SOUTH SEAS is well worth siding with at a big price in the opener. He was rated as high as 110 on the flat, placing at Group One level, and jumped really well on his hurdling debut despite finding one too good. He tanked through that race and, despite that being a lowly level, has loads of scope as a novice hurdler. He’s versatile ground wise and well worth chancing at 12/1.
1pt win South Seas @12/1, 12:50 Kempton, Boxing Day
2m (Winter) Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4yo+)
Fusil Raffles is vulnerable here and needs to improve quite significantly – he’s only rated 152 and has to give 7lb to the mares Verdana Blue and Epatante, who are both well in at the weights on official ratings. Verdana Blue will hate soft ground but Epatante should be fine on it, and she’s the form horse after a very impressive win off a mark of 137 at Newbury. She’s gone up 13lb for that and has scope to improve further, but even with the mares’ allowance she’s only got 2lb in hand with GETAWAY TRUMP who is progressive himself over hurdles and twice her price at 9/1. That looks the value play but I don’t really fancy an each-way bet because almost every runner has a realistic chance of hitting the frame.
1pt win Getaway Trump @9/1, 14:30 Kempton, Boxing Day
3m Ladbrokes King George VI Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4yo+)
I’d love to back Clan Des Obeaux but the ground is against him and I can’t see anything beating Cyrname if he stays the 3m, which he most likely will – and his trainer is very bullish about him doing so, so who are we to doubt him? Lostintranslation is excellent but if he gives Cyrname an easy lead and first run, he surely can’t peg him back unless his stamina gives way. 6/4 is about right but it’s not a price that interests me from a betting perspective.
2m5f (Winter) Ladbrokes Football “Acca-Boosty” Handicap Hurdle (Class 3) (3yo+ 0-140)
The market has the right favourite for this in Mr Pumblechook, but he’s a very short price now and makes little appeal for a bet. The others on my short list were Elysees, Rhythm Is A Dancer, Honest Vic and OSCARSMAN, who gets the vote. He’s got Nico de Boinville on board, his last run was his best and he’s bottom weight on his handicap debut, which will be his first go right-handed. That’s significant as he jumps out to the right and that alone could unlock a few lbs of improvement. A mark of 117 is very workable if he progresses again, and 16/1 is dismissive.
1pt each-way Oscarsman @16/1, 15:40 Kempton, Boxing Day (1-5, 1/5)