Christmas Racing Tips: My Nap, Lay & Big-Priced Fancy For The Festive Period

Check out some Christmas racing tips here.
Check out some Christmas racing tips here.

There's an epic few days of top quality National Hunt action on the horizon and our man Steve Chambers has picked out his Nap, Lay and Big-priced selection for the Christmas racing...

Nap - A Plus Tard - Savills Chase (Leopardstown) - December 28

Having produced arguably the finest performance of the entire Jumps season when storming to a runaway 22-length victory in the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park, it's surprising to see A PLUS TARD available at odds-against for the Savills Chase, which takes place at Leopardstown on December 28. Runner-up in last season's Cheltenham Gold Cup, Henry De Bromhead's superstar showed he had improved with another summer on his back as he steamrollered his British rivals in the Grade 1 showpiece back in November, and a repeat of that here will see him outclass his rivals.

Many of those currently sat in the betting are unlikely to take their chance with dual Gold Cup hero Al Boum Photo set for Tramore on New Year's Day, while Minella Indo is King George VI Chase bound on Boxing Day. So, his only real danger appears to be Gordon Elliott's Galvin, who was narrowly beaten by Frodon in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal earlier in the season, and he will need to improve considerably, if he is to lay a glove on A Plus Tard here.

A Plus Tard heads into the Savills Chase as the reigning champion, as he outbattled Kemboy in the race 12 months ago, so if he can come here firing on all cylinders then he can duly solidify his place in the upper echelons of the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting, and duly notch his second Grade 1 win of the campaign.

Savills Chase
A Plus Tard silk

A Plus Tard

placed

Lay - Clan Des Obeaux - King George VI Chase (Kempton) - December 26

Victories in both the 2018 and 2019 King George VI Chase mean CLAN DES OBEAUX is entitled to be at the head of the betting for the Boxing Day showpiece, but the Paul Nicholls-trained raider failed to fire in last year's event when beaten by stablemate Frodon, and he may just have to settle for the minor honours once again.

Nicholls indicated in the aftermath of last year's event that the exertions of the Betfair Chase were the reasons behind Clan Des Obeaux's disappointing display, as he found himself out the back from the outset and was unable to bridge the gap, and was well beaten. The Ditcheat handler has already indicated that the nine-year-old will be positively ridden this time around, and is likely to sit in behind the front-running Frodon, but this year's race is awash with quality and Clan Des Obeaux will have his work cut out.

Not only will Frodon be a major player, but reigning Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Minella Indo will take his chance, and while the flat track of Kempton may not play to his strengths he's a lot classier than Clan Des Obeaux, and may just have too much for him. Meanwhile, the Willie Mullins-trained Asterion Forlonge was running a mighty race in the John Durkan before falling, and if putting in a clear round here, has to be respected, with reigning Marsh Novices' Chase hero Chantry House adding more depth to a thrilling betting race, which can see the favourite falter.

Big-Priced Fancy - Mr Incredible - Faugheen Novice Chase (Limerick) - December 26

There's some superb Grade 1 action throughout the Christmas period with a plethora of epic races to light up Kempton Park and Leopardstown, but one Grade 1 that could lack significant depth is the Faugheen Novice Chase, which is run at Limerick on Boxing Day. Heading the market, at the time of writing is Gavin Cromwell's Gabynako with Beacon Edge and Vanillier just behind him. The first two of that trio were last seen fighting it out in the Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse with Beacon Edge coming out on top, as he stayed on best in the closing stages. That was a Grade 1 event, but neither of the pair were that impressive that day, so can be taken on.

Reigning Albert Bartlett winner Vanillier was a clear winner of a Grade 2 event last time out, but had previously misfired in a Beginners' Chase, so it's worth taking him on and one that catches the eye around the 10/1 mark is MR INCREDIBLE, who could shape into a really smart chaser in time. The five-year-old won on his chase debut at Naas, but then bumped into the top notch Ahoy Senor in the Grade 2 John Francome Novices' Chase at Newbury. With that Lucinda Russell-trained star set to line up in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase - and is well fancied to run Bravemansgame close - then the Newbury form is the best on show, and while Mr Incredible was well beaten that day he could easily bounce back here.

Sent off favourite that day at Newbury, De Bromhead must think a lot of him to send him over to British shores for a real jumping test, and with only four career runs to his name he is open to significant improvement over the coming months. He will need to produce a career best, but with no confidence in the front few in the betting then why not take a chance with Mr Incredible causing a shock.

Faugheen Novice Chase
Mr Incredible silk

Mr Incredible

King George VI Chase Odds
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