There is a plethora of sport for Boxing Day 2012, including 9 races in the UK, and another 3 in Ireland.
I’ve noted 4 horses that I feel offer excellent value, and though the title suggests a Lucky 15, they also offer good options as singles or doubles if you wish.
This Grade 3 race looks set to be a hotly contested affair, with 2 or 3 horses all standing good chances. Assuming Junior takes his chance in the King George, that will leave 8 in the race, with Cape Tribulation currently favourite at best price 7/2 (Blue Sq & 888 Sport).
Helpston finished 2nd in this same race last year, beaten only a length by According To Pete, and is a good option e/w at 6/1 (StanJames & William Hill), though I suspect, given recent poor form, he may once again find one too good.
Venetia Williams has been in fine form so far this season, showing +41.68 to a level £ stake in chases, so Ballyoliver gets the nod from me, and is available at 4/1 from Bet365, Blue Sq & 888 Sport. He should be able to take the step up in grade in his stride.
Cinders and Ashes is yet to finish outside the first 2 over hurdles, but having been battered by an uber-tough Countrywide Flame in the Fighting Fifth, it’s difficult to see Donald McCain’s horse reversing that 12 length deficit. Coral are offering 9/2 for the Supreme Novices’ Winner in this, with the rest going 4/1, though Bet365 do offer 1/4 odds each-way.
Not surprisingly, Countrywide is a clear favourite for this, though is available at a fair price of 2/1 with quite a few bookies including Totesport, Boylesport, Betfred, Blue Sq, 888 Sport & William Hill.
I find it difficult to lo0k past him in this, though the obvious danger would be the mount of Champion jockey AP McCoy. Darlan is making his seasonal re-appearance, having been pulled out of the Fighting Fifth due to the ground. There is a slight question mark about how the horse will handle the ground here as well, but he won’t be short of gambles at odds of 11/4 with Totesport, Betfred & Sportingbet. Of the rest, Raya Star makes most appeal, but may be slightly outclassed.
Unlike many, I’m not sold on the credentials of Long Run in this, and at best price of 2/1 with the majority of bookmakers, I’m happy to oppose.
My selection in this is The Giant Bolster, available at 9/1 with Betfred, Totesport and Sportingbet. With McCoy on board, I feel the price offers good each-way value, with almost all bookies offering 1/4 odds. The other horse that interests is the Ruby Walsh mount Kauto Stone, who is offered at 8/1 from Totesport, BetVictor, Betfred, Ladbrokes, Coral, Sportingbet and William Hill.
Marco Botti and Adam Kirby currently boast a 60% strike rate over the past fortnight, and their horse in this, Glory City, looks to have an excellent opportunity to make it 2 in 2 over C&D. The only fear is if the horse is drawn into a battle for early leadership, but putting faith in the abilities of Adam Kirby usually pays dividends. At the time of writing, prices weren’t up for this race, but the horse was going at roughly 3/1 on Betfair.
Boxing Day Selections
1:45 Wetherby – Ballyoliver
2:35 Kempton – Countrywide Flame
3:10 Kempton – The Giant Bolster
3:15 Wolverhampton – Glory City (NAP)
Good luck if you’re having a flutter, @greglarmouth.