For the hurdlers, they get their chance at Grade 1 glory in the Xmas Hurdle in another disappointingly small field. Still, four out of the five are pretty darn good horses...
Back to Jon da Silva, @creamontop, for the preview.
32Red Christmas Hurdle
£100,000, Grade 1, Two Miles
Kempton Boxing Day, 1440 local, 0140 AEDT
We have a fair idea how good The New One is in small fields at park courses at two miles - both losses in this race to be fair. A blunder against My Tent or Yours causing a narrow loss and a mauling by Faugheen - Faugheen dominated him. If it's a crawl Ch'tibello can burn as he showed in the unnecessary Haydock race. My Tent or Yours appears best when finding himself in the lead after everything else has shot their bolt and I hope connections are considering the two mile handicap at Newbury again and off 155 I'd be interested.
Gray Wolf River gives lie to the idea that padding these races with more numbers would make them better races. Indeed whilst he could luck into a lot of prizemoney most likely he repays a couple of months fees which given jumpers don't run that often has an opportunity cost for anyone who wants to win a race and does not own and train a complete no hoper. His main benefit is to encourage EW bettors who want to oppose the top two. Anyone want to price up how many lengths he'll be beaten - under/over 100?
Anyway in future terms this race is about Yanworth or Boaty McBoatface as a public vote I conducted on Twitter concluded. Yanworth has won over two miles in bottomless ground and became favourite for the Neptune off a win over two and a half miles in bottomless ground. He appeared to be out-sprinted at a crucial point in the Neptune by a horse who seemed less suited by subsequent tests of speed at Aintree and Punchestown himself. He looked anything but a speed horse barely getting the better of Lil Rockerfeller receiving four pounds too over two and a half miles last time. He is favourite here.
Cut a long story short The New One could dominate and is almost unbeaten under those conditions. If his pilot is clever this should be a 3 furlong sprint. Maybe Yanworth tries to make it and brings My Tent or Yours into it but even then The New One can sit on him and what pace he could set is interesting for a horse who tries to run out and is ridden wide so he can be unhurried. At the prices The New One is the bet. Like Thistlecrack if Yanworth wins we can get very excited but I can't see any form that makes him favourite here, never mind the distance and race shape might be against him.
The New One win at 6/4 or more
Consider forecast TNO over MTOY Ch'tibello