Yesterday’s abandoned Welsh National card from Chepstow will now be staged on Saturday 6th January after the course was flooded in places following 40mls of rain on Boxing Day.
Today’s Grade 1 action comes from Leopardstown where the feature is the Christmas Chase – formerly the Lexus – where Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Sizing John (3.00) takes on 11 rivals as he bids to cement his place as the best staying chaser in Britain and Ireland.
I wasn’t overly impressed with Might Bite (6/1 with BetVictor for the Gold Cup) in the King George although he was carried left at many of his fences by Bristol De Mai whose bubble was well and truly burst. Sizing John is 4/1 favourite at BetVictor to retain his Gold Cup crown and 6/4 to land todays 3m contest.
Yorkhill is a fascinating contender stepped up to 3m for the first time under rules. The Willie Mullins trained seven-year-old must go left-handed, was a fluent winner of the JLT at Cheltenham last spring and has long been considered a potential Gold Cup horse by those close to the yard. I am Sizing John’s biggest fan, however, and he looked very special in the John Durkan at Punchestown on his reappearance.
Catterick must pass an 8am inspection, but if racing gets the green light Lake Field, (2.05) can follow up his recent Newbury win for which he escapes a penalty, as that was a conditional jockey’s event. That might not have been the strongest race ever staged at the Berkshire track but the Kim Bailey-trained eight-year-old did it well enough and he is 12lbs “well-in” on official figures.
In the opener Enola Gay (12.30) should appreciate today’s drop back in trip having ran poorly over an additional half mile last time. The form of his second at Uttoxeter over the minimum trip looks very good in this grade and Aidan Coleman takes over in the saddle for the first time.
Paradise Lake (2.20) has left the yard of Sir Michael Stoute since finishing runner up in a mile maiden at Windsor back in October. Trainer Ed Walker has his string in good form and this new inmate can score at the first time of asking for the yard at Lingfield.
The feature race is the 2m Handicap and there is no guaranteed pace in the race, which is a concern as to how the race will develop. In a truly run race Continuum would have every chance but connections now know Rydan (1.45) stays this 2m trip and the hope is that Adam Kirby doesn’t get too far behind on the Gary Moore-trained six-year-old.