Racing Daily with BetVictor – Dec 18

Rain is expected to hit many parts of Britain today, but there are only isolated showers forecast from then on over the Christmas period for Kempton Park and it looks as if the ground for Boxing Day’s King George VI meeting should be no worse than good to soft.

Last year’s winner Might Bite heads the market at 3/1 with BetVictor despite disappointing at Haydock on his reappearance in the Betfair Chase won by Bristol de Mai (7/1 with BetVictor). The Colin Tizzard trained pair of Thistlecrack – winner of the corresponding race in 2016 – and Gold Cup winner Native River are also priced at 7/1 with the best backed horse of late Waiting Patiently (5s from 7s) second favourite for Ruth Jefferson. Note the latter is unbeaten in three starts going right-handed but will he stay 3m?

They go at Catterick today and Marley Firth (1.10) was well supported when only getting as far as the second at Newcastle last time and he is taken to recoup losses in first-time cheek-pieces for the Skeltons. The selection looked a useful prospect when winning his sole point and opening Bumper, but was largely disappointing last term. The hope is that his confidence has not been affected by his recent tumble.

Colby (1.40) makes his handicap debut in the staying handicap hurdle and he hinted at Sedgefield last time over 2m 5f that he would appreciate a thorough test of stamina although significant rain would be a concern as his best form is on a sound surface.

There is a competitive card at Fakenham and we might have a Royal winner in the feature Handicap Chase with Forth Bridge (1.50) who would not want the ground to deteriorate from the good to soft description given on Monday afternoon.

The selection finished third at Wincanton last time despite jumping slightly out to the left at most obstacles. The winner and runner up have both franked the form and I hope Charlie Longsdon’s five-year-old can break his duck over the larger obstacles. Enjoy Responsibly has a course record of 141 and gets on very well with today’s pilot 7lb claimer Harrison Beswick. He looks the main danger having made late gains when third at Hereford last time.

Working Class has been struggling to get home even over the minimum trip, but he should find this decent ground and sharp turns to his liking for Oliver Sherwood and a market move would be worth noting.

The nod, however, goes to The Very Thing (2.20) who makes his handicap debut for Olly Murphy and Richard Johnson having run a good race when second at Wetherby last time. The selection had previously finished third over C&D behind Supreme Novice Hurdle fancy Didtheyleaveuoutto and he may not have to improve much more to get off the mark.

At Naas I’m looking forward to the jumps debut of Face The Facts (12.30) who was a useful stayer on the level for John Gosden and has his first start for Willie Mullins this afternoon. Paul Townend is in the plate.

There is a cracking Beginners’ Chase and Carter McKay (1.35) makes his chase debut for Gordon Elliot having been off the track since finishing down the field in the Martin Pipe Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. The grey is a winning pointer and has an excellent record when fresh.

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