Back Johnson to provide a love-ly winner

  • Last Updated: December 24 2013, 13:27 GMT

Nic Doggett's three best bets for Boxing Day away from the feature races.

Richard Johnson: Can start Kempton with a winner
Richard Johnson: Can start Kempton with a winner

12.50 Kempton - Amore Alato

There are some big reputations in this opener but Nick Williams' four-year-old is going under the radar somewhat.

He shouldn't be, as the form of his hurdling debut behind Tijori is working out well.

The second, a previous winner, has run well in a Grade Two at Chepstow since, whilst the third Potters Cross was far from disgraced behind Kings Palace at Cheltenham.

Amore Alto won on his next start, when dropping in trip at Wincanton and he holds subsequent winner Sgt Reckless (third) on that run.

The second and seventh home have also scored since and a forcing ride from Richard Johnson (who has a 25% strike-rate for the trainer) could see him upstage some well-regarded rivals at a big price.

Favourite Dubai Prince has an abundance of class but might be one to take on in desperate ground, and the more likely danger is Vaniteux.

Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty have won this race for the last two seasons and this Irish point-to-point recruit looks an exciting prospect.

3.45 Kempton - Big Casino

The Twiston-Davies team landed a gamble with this horse back in October up at Carlisle and, although he didn't make the frame 18 days later at Cheltenham off a 16lb higher mark, he was far from disgraced behind Home Run.

Soft ground suits him well and his run behind the 146-rated Shutthefrontdoor as a novice makes me think that his new mark is still a workable one.

Any further rain will be in his favour and with Sam Twiston-Davies back in the saddle, a big run is expected.

There are plenty of in-form horses in the race but recent winners Seebright and, most notably Beyeh, are facing much better rivals than they beat last time out.

3.30 Wetherby - Kilrye

David Pipe's son of Catcher In The Rye has been beaten a total of 639 lengths in 11 starts (that's an average of 58 per race), but he looks interesting on Boxing Day.

Soft ground and a testing two miles look to be his ideal conditions and it's interesting that rising star of the saddle Cono O'Farrell takes the ride (ridden by an amateur last time out).

He was never likely to feature in that Wincanton contest racing from 13lb out of the handicap, however he is effectively racing off a mark of 89 here and that looks tempting.

His best effort came on heavy ground in Ireland, when he was second to Sands Cove at Roscommon, and we may see a much improved run here, especially if the market speaks in his favour.

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