Tuesday at Leopardstown 

The Christmas Hurdle is a really competitive race, and although he’s been tricky in the past, Klassical Dream  won the Grade 1 at Punchestown over this trip and that’s the best form in the race (13:45). They do say that there isn’t a better substitute for form, so you’d have to think he’s the one to beat. Although he’s not been straightforward, he has won a Supreme Novices, so he’s got lots of ability.

A Plus Tard  was absolutely savage at Haydock and looks to be one of the most exciting horses in training. I love him. I think he’s right out of the top drawer as he stays but has plenty of pace, too. He’s not the biggest horse, but he’s a lovely jumper of a fence. I’m looking forward to seeing him again. I’m not sure what will serve it up to him, but it’d be good to see Galvin   run to his Down Royal form (14:20).

Galopin Des Champs   improved no end last season, bolting up in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham and backing that up with a win in the Grade 1 at Punchestown. I think everyone is excited by him and he could be very good. He’s only five but I’m sure they all believe that he could progress into their Festival Novices Chase horse (14:55).

Tuesday at Limerick

Concertista  was the best of these over hurdles and I’ll be very surprised if she’s not the best over fences, too. She was very good on her first start over fences, and this is a lovely opportunity to win again (13:30).

Monday at Leopardstown

Haut En Couleurs  and Thedevilscoachman  go head-to-head in a Beginners Chase and I think they’ll both end up winning their fair share of races this season. They’ve both always been highly thought of and both have decent form in the book, so it’ll be good to see how they progress over fences (12:35).

Chacun Pour Soi   will take all of the beating in the Grade 1 (13:10). He wasn’t at his best in the Tingle Creek, but he might have just needed it and he should be winning this race again. He was so impressive in this race last year and I really believe he’s better than Envoi Allen, who just isn’t the horse he once promised to be.

Largy Debut  thrashed Kilcruit on his debut for Henry de Bromhead and he must be pretty good to do that. I bet if you'd told Willie Mullins that a horse would beat Kilcruit by that far, he’d be surprised and tell you the winner must be very good! It’s a Grade 1, so he has to step up, but so do the rest of the field (13:45). 

Ilikedwayurthinkin  didn’t jump great last time, but before that he’d won his first two starts this season and looked on an upward curve. He’s only seven and there will be more improvement in him, so I think he’s got the ability to be in the mix (14:55). 

Monday at Limerick

Eric Bloodaxe  is a horse I’m really looking forward to seeing go up in trip and I think he’ll win the Grade 2 at Limerick (14:05). He was always really highly thought of as a bumper horse and even managed to beat Ferny Hollow on his first start. He’s got so much ability and looks as though he needs a trip now. He’ll like a bit of cut in the ground, too.

Welsh Grand National

I love the Welsh Grand National (14:50 Chepstow). I think it’s a real test that suits the best staying chasers and we’ve seen plenty of horses win it and go on to gain success at the highest level.

Although he hasn’t had his prep run, which is so often needed in this race, Evan Williams is definitely more than capable of getting his horses fit enough for big assignments. Defending champion Secret Reprieve  was so good last year that he won with loads in hand, and I think he’s still well treated off a mark of 140. He’s getting weight from most of the field and has ideal conditions for him. He must go well.

From a personal point of view, I’d love to see The Big Dog  go well. I won a bumper on him many moons ago and his trainer Peter Fahy is a top man. I’ll definitely be smiling if they cross the line in front.


It’s good to see that Shishkin  is making his seasonal debut at Kempton (14:30). He was the best novice chaser over two miles last season and is already the favourite for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase. If he wins, he’ll get shorter in the betting and it’ll set up a mouth-watering clash with Energumene.


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