It all starts here. We’ll be picking over the carcass of the turkey for days to come, but it’s not all doom and gloom post Christmas day. That’s thanks to the fantastic Festive racing schedule and we start with some cracking races from across Ireland and the UK. Here’s a look at the best backed horses with Paddy Power.
It’s one of the most open King George’s in living memory and the market tells us that thee’s virtually nothing to choose between the top four in the market. The fact Long Run – a dual King George and single Cheltenham Gold Cup winner – is a fifth favourite 10/1 shot tells you a lot, namely (a) he’s not as good as he used to be and (b) there’s some real quality ahead of him in the betting. Behind him, Riverside Theatre, Menorah and Champion Court are some of the classy horses seemingly destined to be marked down as also rans in this competitive race.
You could throw a blanket over Cue Card, Al Ferof, Silviniaco Conti and Dynaste, but it’s the David Pipe trained Dynaste who is receiving the bulk of the support from Paddy Power customers. He won the novices’ version of this race on the Boxing Day card last year and thanks to extensive support, he’s the one Paddy wants to see get beaten today.
The New One
The Christmas Hurdle looks to be a straight match-up between the two leading contenders for the Champion Hurdle, The New One and My Tent Or Yours. Yes, there’ll be other horses in the race, but they’re not fancied to make much of an impact against the classy young pair.
Of the two, it’s The New One who is getting the most support from Paddy Power punters and a victory for the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained star would leave Paddy feeling worse than any amount of excessive turkey consumption could ever manage.
Michael Owen thinks he’ll win, which given his record, maybe not be the most ringing of endorsements:
The race before the King George could be a cracker. Two hot prospects go head to head. I'm taking The New One to beat My Tent Or Yours.
— michael owen (@themichaelowen) December 26, 2013
Just A Par is by far and away the hot favourite for what used to be known as the Feltham Novices’ Chase in old money, but it’s his main market rival for the race who has been best backed with Paddy Power punters. Green Flag has already had three outings this season on each occasion has found some improvement and there’s plenty of people out there backing Lucinda Russell to get even more out of him today.
Defy Logic seems to be quite a fitting name for anyone hoping to go against the reigning Supreme Novice Hurdler, Champagne Fever. The Willie Mullins star is odds-on to make it back to back wins in the chasing world, but last time out, there were enough hints that his jumping needs to improve to warrant opposing him. In fairness to him, he still won comfortably at Punchestown, but Paddy Power customers are piling into the Paul Nolan trained charge to cause an upset. He was beaten last time out, but his victory prior to that was impressive and if he hits those levels again, he’ll give team Mullins something to worry about.
The reigning Grand National winner, Auroras Encore makes his seasonal debut in this one, but with the Aintree showpiece once again the main target, he’s about as fancied as a lap dance from Dot Cotton. He’s likely to go off as one of the outsiders and the betting attention has largely gone in the direction of Cloudy Too and Sydney Paget.
Of the two, it’s the Sue Smith trained Cloudy Too who has been more popular with Paddy Power punters and he’s the one Paddy wants to see get chinned. Despite not really being fancied, he still managed to disappoint at the Hennessy Gold Cup last month, but he’s shown enough glimpses of his talent previously not to abandon all faith. If he can recapture the form that show him claim a convincing win at Carlisle at the start of November, that support could well be justified.