Seymour Biz provides his Lucky 15 tips, for Saturday, when eyes will be on Aintree and Sandown.
Four very good jumps meetings this weekend covering all parts of the country. Some Christmas cracking racing on offer for those lucky enough to get out of the festive shopping, so let’s have a look at them and see if we can spot some winners to reduce the burden on our wallets. Chepstow has a Welsh National Trial and Kerry Lee has three declared, I like the look of Bishops Road in this. Northwards to Wetherby and local trainer Tim Easterby sends Ifandbutwhynot out for his first appearance of the winter after unseating his rider at Kelso back in May. Tingle Creek day at Sandown will be benefit day for Willie Mullins if the dreat Douvan is sent over for the big race, he does however have Un De Sceaux in reserve and as usual Mullins is keeping it close to his chest about which one he is going to run there. Up at Liverpool the big fences have been dressed for a couple of difficult chases, also on the card is a listed juvenile hurdle and Paul Nicholls is to send his well regarded Malaya there. He faces some stiff opposition but I expect him to prevail.
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In the Randox Health Becher Chase at 1.30 at Aintree I really like the look of Blaklion, second to Bristol de Mai last time out at Wetherby and in pretty good form by anyone’s standards. He jumped these fences well when fourth in last year’s Grand National and I fully expect him to have a clear round again. He is up against some very good opposition, as you would expect for this valuable prize, including last years winner Vieux Lion Rouge and Grand Sefton winner As De Mee. Vicente is declared for Trevor Hemmings’ connections, but perhaps he may run for them in the Many Clouds Chase following that horse’s sad demise at Cheltenham after winning here last year. A lively outsider is Lord Windermere who has jumped round here in last years Grand National finishing seventh.
At 3.10 we have the Grand Sefton Chase so the fence dressers had better get busy reupholstering the birch ready for this contest. Set to carry top weight for Tom George is Double Shuffle who pulled up two out in last years Grand National, he may find this shorter trip more to his liking. He ran second a fortnight ago to Top Notch at Ascot and he looks the one to be on here. Lower down the weights Mystifiable could run well for Fergal O’Brien. He finished fourth behind my selection at Chepstow in October and has a squeak.
The 2.20 Jumeirah Hotels December Handicap Hurdle at Sandown looks a hot Listed race. All the top trainers are representented with Nicky Henderson’s Jenkins likely to go off as favourite. Crossed My Mind comes over from Ireland with a good reputation having run third at Down Royal last time when hampered at the last hurdle. My selection for this is Alan King’s Fidux, who was pulled out of a race at Newbury last week as the trainer states he prefers this course. Fidux unseated his rider here last time when unluckily catching a swinging hurdle, otherwise he would have finished in the first two. He is a confident pick.
Cresswell Breeze runs for Anthony Honeyball in the Betfair London National Handicap Chase at 3.30. He ran well to win at Fontwell last time out and I like the look of him here to complete a quick double. Doing Fine was second in this race last year and ran well at Cheltenham last time out. Houblon Des Obeaux won a veterans race here a month ago, but he won’t find it so easy against younger opposition.
Saturday Lucky 15
1.30 Aintree – Blaklion
3.10 Aintree – Double Shuffle
2.20 Sandown – Fidux
3.30 Sandown – Cresswell Breeze
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