Happy Christmas everyone!
The final Saturday picks of the year for us. After a good start to the year it has been a bit of a struggle since the lockdown. I normally get back on track reasonably quickly after a losing run but it seems to be taking its time on this occasion. Just to keep following the same formula that has been successful in the past though so here are today’s picks.
Paul Nicholls appears to hold the aces in the King George with favpourite Clan Des Obeaux and second favourite Cyrname looking the pair to beat. Santini takes this in on his way to his date with destiny in the Gold Cup while Lostintranslation, still seemingly full of promise, has a bit to prove althjough a big run wouldn’t be a great surprise. I would love to see Waiting Patiently win for the Jefferson team but his chance of a prize like this may have gone and he has a long lay-off to contend with.
Saint Calvados is interesting up in trip but will struggle against these I think while Frodon, another Nicholls entrant, could run a big race at what looks a very big price if he gets into a rhythm up front. Real Steel has been many people’s idea of a potential star after an eye-catching run in last year’s Gold Cup but he was well beaten in lesser company last time and Nicholls will need to have found a key to some hitherto unexposed talents with him.
Which brings me back to the front pair. This is the ideal test for Clan Des Obeaux who romped home in it last year, thumping Cyrname by 21 lengths. He disappointed in the Gold Cup afterwards but was back to his old self when chasing home Bristol De Mai at Haydock last month. Cyrname is talented but enigmatic. Judged on his defeat of Altior just over a year ago you’d be hard pressed to name a better chaser but since then he was beaten by Clan Des Obeaux in this a year ago, was in the process of being beaten soundly by Riders OnThe Storm at Ascot after that and although he looked visually impressive on his comeback run, I’m not sure that does anything else than put him in the mix here.
I’m siding with CLAN DES OBEAUX (5/2 generally) as a solid candidate who I have at around the 2/1 mark in my own book.
Earlier in the card (1.50 Kempton) IF THE CAP FITS (4/1 generally) can give Shan Blue plenty to think about in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase. More than decent as a hurdler, he’s been relatively late to chasing but has acquitted himself well, beating Fiddlerontheroof on his debut before finding Pym too hot to handle last time. Shan Blue and The Big Breakaway are both highly promising but don’t have the same proven level of form as the selection.
Up at Wetherby we get underway early with the first selection TEQUILA BLAZE (4/1 BetVictor) in the first (off at 11.50 so look sharp). Fergal O’Brien has given her plenty of time and that looks like it may be repaid after she ran well in second at Lingfield last time (lost shoe in process). This looks a good opportunity and I think her chance is nearer 3/1 than 4/1.
Here’s hoping we can finish the year off in style!