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Today’s Racing News: The calm before the Boxing Day storm

Merry Christmas to one and all! It’s our final Daily News Column before the break and the Boxing Day bonanza begins. On hand to see you into Christmas is Daryl Carter.

Today’s racing will be the last before a mega day on Boxing day, so tread lightly and bet responsibly, because we have one hell of a day ahead of us. Today’s only jumps meeting is Ludlow, while Wolverhampton and Southwell host flat action and complete the shortlist of punting options on Wednesday.

Money Talk

Money Talk continues to highlight the Betfair Sportsbook big-money moves to keep you in the loop. This section highlights market moves between 1:00 am and 9:00 am.

15:00 Wolverhampton – Invincible Larne 13/2 into 9/2
15:15 Ludlow – Nifty Getaway 8/1 into 11/2
18:30 Southwell – Berry Quick 15/2 into 5/1

The morning market drifter!

Which horse is the Betfair Sportsbook market suggesting to Lay?

12:30 Wolverhampton – Alphonse Le Grande 7/4 OUT 2/1

Mark your card

The Betfair Sportsbook is paying extra places today!

In the 12:45 G.C.Rickards Ltd Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase at Ludlow, Minella Drama 2.01/1 will look for a remarkable eighth straight victory. Since May, he has gone unbeaten and has climbed 15 pounds in the ratings, which doesn’t seem all that much given the number of victories. However, trainer Donald McCain is just two for 36 (6%) over fences here, and he takes on the progressive Seen Not Herd 1.910/11. Family Pot 51.050/1 represents Sheila Lewis, who has a 27% strike rate over fences here, but her runner is 41 pounds out of the handicap.

In the 13:45 Tanners Champagne Handicap Chase at Ludlow, trainer Venetia Williams will be looking to land the event for the fourth time in the last ten years with her runner Desque De L’Isle 5.04/1.

Henderson has firepower at Ludlow

Nicky Henderson has had two entries in the 14:45 Tanners Prosecco ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle in the last four years – both won. Today he saddles Balco Coastal 1.75/7.

Today’s 15:15 Merry Christmas From Ludlow Racecourse Mares’ Open National Hunt Flat Race looks highly competitive on paper. Trainer Nicky Henderson has a 40% strike rate here in bumpers. He saddles newcomer Hana Collonges 4.57/2.

John and Thady Gosden will look to enhance their excellent strike rate of 30% at Wolverhampton with two runners. Rockfire 3.55/2 is their handicap debutant in the 12:30 Watch Racing Free Online At Coral Nursery Handicap. It’s hard to imagine the Gosden’s have many horses rated as low as 65 in their yard. The following 13:00 Coral Proud To Support British Racing Fillies’ Novice Stakes sees Haija 2.47/5 take to the floor as they search for a quickfire double that pays 7.513/2 on the Betfair Sportsbook.

At Southwell, David Simcock runners are usually accurately placed, and he saddles Scarborough Castle 4.75 in the 16:30 Read Katie Walsh On Betway Insider Handicap. It’s his only runner of the day, and he has a 29% strike rate with runners at this venue.

At Southwell, trainer George Boughey has a 39% strike rate. Today he sends two runners, Desert Lime 15:55, and Medal Of Glory 18:30. The latter is a two-year-old for which the trainer is two for four 50%.

If you fancy a Boughey bonus, the double pays 21.020/1

In the 15:55 at Southwell, Jumira Bridge 12.011/1 is now 12 pounds lower than when he last wore a tongue-tie, and all three wins in the last two years have come with this piece of headgear on – Today it is re-applied.

Horses for courses

This section highlights horses that have won twice or more at today’s tracks and could be in with a chance today.

13:30 Wolverhampton – Peachey Carnehan – Has won here six times (17%)
14:00 Wolverhampton – Lequinto – Has won here twice (50%)
14:15 Ludlow – Head To The Stars – Has won here twice (33%)
15:00 Wolverhampton – Deputise – Has won here twice (67%)
18:00 Southwell – Custard The Dragon – Has won here seven times (26%)

Weighted to go well

“Weighted to go well” highlights horses running that are more than 10lbs below their last winning handicap mark.

14:30 Wolverhampton – Savalas – Has won off 84 runs off 72
15:00 Wolverhampton – El Hombre – Has won off 88 runs off 74
15:30 Wolverhampton – Lorna Cole – Has won off 62 runs off 47
15:55 Southwell – Jumira Bridge – Has won off 68 runs off 58
16:05 Wolverhampton – Kraka – Has won off 61 runs off 46
16:05 Wolverhampton – Sword Exceed – Has won off 73 runs off 53
17:30 Southwell – Bavardages – Has won off 75 runs off 65
18:00 Southwell – Chookie Dunedin – Has won off 80 runs off 67
19:30 Southwell – Tathmeen – Has won off 77 runs off 67
19:30 Southwell – Storm Over – Has won off 83 runs off 67

Form Watch

This section highlights a trainer, owner or jockey who is in excellent current form and their runners or rides for the day.

Trainer’s Michael and David Easterby have had four winners from their last 11 runners for a 26% strike rate in the last 14 days. Today they send one runner to Southwell. Bavardages 9.517/2 17:30 MansionBet Proud Partners Of AWC Handicap.

Furthest traveller

Today’s furthest traveller is trainer Lucinda Russell who sends one runner to Wolverhampton. The trainer has made the 306-mile journey with Ballyare 11.010/1in the 15:00.

Race of the day

The 13:45 Tanners Champagne Handicap Chase at Ludlow wouldn’t look out of place on Boxing Day, given its strength in depth and the competitive nature of the contest. This race looks tough for punters but let’s have a crack at solving the seven runner puzzle.



Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Jockey: Harry Cobden
Age: 6
Weight: 12st 3lbs
OR: 146

Paul Nicholls has expressed that Fidelio Vallis is running here off top weight because it may be his last chance before the rain arrives. He sits on a very tough handicap mark of 146 for this contest after picking up some good opportunities over the summer months. Not to second guess the trainer, but it seems as though he was keen to run at Cheltenham back in October to make use of his Novice status with the thought that he may be too high in the handicap for open events.

He is a nice horse who is sure to run his race, but he may find one or two better handicapped today, and it will be no easy task to give away chunks of weight.



Trainer: Matt Sheppard
Jockey: Stan Sheppard
Age: 6
Weight: 11st 1lbs
OR: 130

Not Available was a good winner at Newbury last time and put his experience to good use over a couple of chase debutants and a solid yardstick in Solo.

That was a career-best effort, and a three pounds rise in the handicap looks unlikely to stop him from progressing further. To be honest, it’s hard to pick holes in him, although the niggling doubt is that he wants a step up in trip, but this will be run at an end to end gallop, so tactics could be key.

He has likeable claims.



Trainer: Venetia Williams
Jockey: Charlie Deutsch
Age: 8
Weight: 10st 5lbs
OR: 120

A similar opinion applies to Desque De L’Isle, who may be seen to best effect over further in time, but he is not short of speed as he showed when winning at Ffos Las on his penultimate start. His latest run at Sandown saw his jockey keep him wide for much of the race costing him plenty of ground at the rear of the field, but it was encouraging to see him stick to the task at the finish.

He still looks ahead of the handicapper off this handicap mark of 120, and he remains unexposed now he has learned to settle in his races.

Backers will be hoping that similar hold-up style tactics are used when the abundance of front runners on offer today, and his trainer has won this with horses rated 125, 120 and 124 in the last ten years.

Big race verdict

It’s going to be a belter of race to watch with at least five of this seven-strong field having made the running on their latest start. That strong pace should suit both Not Available and DESQUE DE L’ISLE with a slight preference for the latter. They both are firmly on the upgrade, but Venetia Williams knows what it takes to win this contest, and the presence of Charlie Deutsch back in the saddle is a big positive. Gumball is selected to fill the third spot.

Timeform offer up three of their best at Wolverhampton

Timeform’s Andrew Asquith highlights a NAP, Next Best and Each-Way selection at Wolverhampton on Wednesday.

Take a Flyer with TC on Tornado at Kempton?

With only five days to go until the King George Chase at Kempton, Tony Calvin assesses the betting and recommends an each-way wager at an appealing price…

Kate Tracy takes a look at all ten runners for the King George

With 10 runners left in at the confirmation stage for the King George, Kate Tracey is here with her runner-by-runner guide to the Boxing Day showpiece, with three to back…

Final Word

Huge news broke yesterday when leading Arkle fancy and 2021 Supreme Novice Hurdle winner Appreciate It was announced to be staying over hurdles for the season after a setback.

Connections expressed that a tilt at the Champion Hurdle (6/1) will be on the agenda in March, but he will not be back in full work for a couple of weeks.

This brought me plenty of joy after unveiling the captain and stablemate, Ferny Hollow, for the Arkle in the Cheltenham Festival Focus column just two weeks ago.

He looks sure to be taking that route now and has been cut to as short as 7/4 on the Betfair Sportsbook, which is no surprise, and he will race again at Christmas on Boxing Day at Leopardstown in the Racing Post Arkle. He will have a big task on his hands to give away 13 pounds to Riviere D’etel, but it’s all systems go if he comes through that. Go on, captain Ferny!

Today is the last column before Christmas, and I just wanted to wish all followers a Merry Christmas. Try and forget what is going on in the world right now and enjoy time spent with loved ones. For all, tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Until Boxing Day, be lucky.

Follow Daryl Carter on Twitter @DarylCarter7

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