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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

St Stephens' Day/Boxing Day racing from Leopardstown and Kempton

Hi all, hope you all had a great Christmas. For better or worse, I've gone with Long Run in the King George today. Hope I'm not following him over a cliff but I still think he has something left to give. Here's today's Indo article:

DESPITE the fact that racing takes place 362 days a year, punters feel starved at the moment and a return to action at Leopardstown, Limerick, Down Royal and Kempton is welcomed with open arms. My friends know that the King George at Kempton (3.10) is one of my favourite races of the year so for this year's Christ Child gift (or Chris Kindle as it's now known) I got a betting docket with a pony (€25) on Long Run to win the race. It's nice to know that my mates sometimes listen to my ramblings and I've often mentioned that Nicky Henderson's seven-year-old has become somewhat under-rated having had the misfortune to be around at the same time as some great horses like Kauto Star and Silviniaco Conti. With Finian's Rainbow and Sir Des Champs undeclared, he's now as short as 15/8 but to me that's still good value with conditions likely to be testing. I've often noted in this column that his style is becoming closer than a stayer more than anything else and three miles around Kempton on soft to heavy going is bound to play to his strengths. I do admit that I lost my monkey-nuts backing him in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last time out but a fantastic round of jumping from Silviniaco Conti coupled with an enterprising run from Ruby Wash was just too much for Long Run's dour style and he was beaten fair and square on the day. His amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen often gets a bit of stick but the thirty-year-old was right not to turn the Betfair Chase into some sort of sprinting match as it would have took too much out of the horse and possibly ruined his season. This time around though, there's no obvious pacemaker so it will be interesting to see if Waley-Cohen has to take him out early to set the tempo himself - but the horse doesn't mind going out in front doing his own thing and is said to enjoy working on his own at home. While he's become a little frustrating to follow, it shouldn't be forgotten that Long Run won the 2010 King George (ran in January 2011) in fine style at the expense of Riverside Theatre and Kauto Star and if we include his French career, he's now won 13 races from 23 which is a fantastic achievement in any man's language. True, Kauto Star beat him last year but he lost nothing in defeat and readers will not need reminding that Kauto is widely regarded as one of the greatest chasers of all time. While Cue Card and stablemate Riverside Theatre won't let him have it all his own way, he can show the racing public what he's made of with a second King George victory today. At Leopardstown, Arvika Ligeonniere looks the banker of the day in the Racing Post Novice Chase (2.55), albeit at a restrictive price of 10/11. Willie Mullins' seven-year-old has a very high cruising speed and was perhaps a little stretched last time when winning the Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse but the drop in trip to 17f this afternoon will be right up his street. Oscars Well is the one most likely to follow him home.

THERE are excuses for Flying Trader's below par effort at Lingfield last time (7th of 12 runners) as he had just been gelded and wasn't race fit after nine weeks off. He looks well treated in the weights based on his Kempton win in April, and with his jockey Ian Burns claiming a very useful 7lbs, odds of 8/1 are a couple of ticks too high for today's Boxing Day Handicap at Wolverhampton (4.45).

Horseracing: THE Fuller's London Pride Novices' Chase has been won by some exciting sorts in the past including Denman and Bobs Worth and this year's renewal saw Dynaste prove himself to be one of the best novice chasers of the season with a well-rounded victory by four and a half lengths. David Pipe's six-year-old is back in action in the Kauto Star Feltham Novices' Chase at Kempton (2.00) and with 16lbs in hand on official ratings, he looks fairly bombproof this afternoon, priced around
5/6. Soccer: FOR a team that are down to the last sixteen in the Champions League, Celtic's trip to Dens Park to face bottom of the table Dundee should be a relatively straightforward assignment. The hoops have scored 24 of their 37 SPL goals away from home and can be backed with confidence to land the halftime-fulltime result this evening at 4/5

2.00 Kempton: Dynaste
2.35 Kempton: Get Me Out Of Here (e/w)
2.55 Leopardstown: Arvika Ligeonniere
3.10 Kempton: Long Run
4.45 Wolverhampton: Flying Trader (e/w)

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