Rob Eddy's Boxing Day tips include two selections from Kempton and one from Aintree.
The Boxing Day racing itinerary in Britain and Ireland is always the busiest in the calendar and we have 11 meetings to get stuck into.
The big card is at Kempton, where they have three Grade 1 contests, including the Kauto Star, Christmas Hurdle and feature King George, while there are quality races at Aintree and Wetherby also on ITV.
Further meetings are from Down Royal, Leopardstown and Limerick in Ireland, along with the remaining British action at Sedgefield, Fontwell, Market Rasen, Wincanton and Wolverhampton.
We have three Boxing Day fancies to follow, including from some of the key races at Kempton and Aintree.
Blow Your Wad @ 7/2 (12.45 Kempton)
Hermes Allen @ 7/5 (1.20 Kempton)
Sholokjack @ 13/2 (1.40 Aintree)
Wad can blow Kempton opener apart
Kempton’s action kicks off with a novice handicap chase (12.45) and any number of these could be well treated. However, none quite stand out in the same way that BLOW YOUR WAD 7/2 does for Tom Lacey.
In hindsight this five-year-old, who was thought good enough to run in a Grade 1 Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree last season that is working out exceptionally, had an impossible task on his hands against Le Patron on his chasing debut.
Blow Your Wad was conceding 12lb to that stylish winner, who followed up in impressive fashion in the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase next time.
The selection was well clear of the third that day and can cope with a 1lb higher mark in a contest that surely lacks an opponent of Le Patron’s class.
Hermes Allen can follow in footsteps of yard great
Kempton’s Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (1.20) is a belter and Paul Nicholls, who trained the horse whose name is attached to this race, might just have the winner in HERMES ALLEN 7/5.
Nicholls seeks a third success in the Kauto Star in the last eight years and Hermes Allen arrives with excellent credentials after he produced a superb chasing debut when running away with the Grade 2 John Francome Novices’ Chase on his return.
I am sold on that performance as Hermes Allen was expected to have needed it somewhat, and our handicappers agree with the potential he showed as he was allocated a Racing Post Rating of 155. That is an unusual feat for a novice and puts him well clear by that metric in this line up.
Hermes Allen has improved for a fence and I see no reason why the step up to three miles on a track like Kempton will not suit him.
Sholokjack primed to strike
Dan Skelton’s restorative powers were evident at Ascot on Saturday, with a resurgent Shan Blue finishing a close third in the 2m3f handicap chase after he showed precious little on his previous few outings.
That sort of faith needs to be placed in SHOLOKJACK 13/2 now he drops back in trip for a decent pot at Aintree in the 2m4f handicap hurdle (1.40).
Sholokjack fell in two of his four starts over fences, including when leading the Grade 1 Mildmay Novices’ Chase field up until the 12th.
Between those two efforts was a highly impressive Lingfield strike off a mark of 125 (excellent RPR of 146 for the grade) and he is back at that BHA rating after shaping like a non-stayer in two three-mile handicap hurdles in the past month.
I have little doubt those two runs were a means to get him ready for this and, carrying just 10st 3lb with Harry Skelton taking over in the saddle, I foresee a big run from this talented and still lightly raced sort over a more suitable distance.