Ben Linfoot tipped a 9/1 winner on Saturday and he has four selections for the Boxing Day cards at Kempton, Wetherby and Wincanton in his Value Bet column.
Recommended bets: Boxing Day
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
It’s a terrific renewal of the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day with Might Bite aiming to land back-to-back renewals.
He has to bounce back from a strange performance at Haydock in the Betfair Chase, but in Nicky Henderson he’s with the right man to build his confidence back up and I’m not surprised to see him chalked up as the 11/4 favourite.
Plenty of punters will want to take him on after Haydock, but I’m not convinced that’s a wise move and if the bookies dangle 3/1 or bigger on Boxing Day morning he could well be the bet.
As it stands, on Christmas Eve, I’m struggling to find a betting angle into the race.
Waiting Patiently has a tough task on his hands on his first start since February, even if he does go well fresh and should thrive at the trip, while Politologue has to prove he stays and this race will be asking him all sorts of questions he’s never had to answer before.
Native River looked big at 8/1 earlier in the week but the current best of 6/1 looks nothing more than fair. He could probably have done with some more rain in the build-up and none looks forthcoming.
That comment also applies to Coneygree. I fancy him to run well and 33s is tempting, but ideally he wants further or more demanding conditions and on this ground I’d be surprised if he’s not done for speed by something.
Can you trust Bristol De Mai away from Haydock? I can’t. And Thistlecrack will have to jump loads better than he did in the Betfair Chase if he’s to win a second King George.
Clan Des Obeaux might well improve on his Haydock run for going right-handed and he is still unexposed at the trip, but four of these rivals have beaten him on his two goes over three miles and it wouldn’t be a great surprise if they did so again.
I’m going to leave the big one alone with a whole host of other bets to sift through and the one race at Kempton that appeals from a betting point of view is the 32Red.com Chase (a novices’ limited handicap) at 1.20.
Henderson has a good record in this having won three of the last eight renewals and from a host of entries he relies on just Lough Derg Spirit and Turtle Wars.
The former looks his best chance and he probably sets the form standard over fences thanks to his Wetherby win, but he did make a few jumping errors that day and he won’t get away with such mistakes in a field like this.
With that in mind the two most experienced horses in the field over larger obstacles could well be underestimated with CARLOS DU FRUITIER the first of those worth backing at 18/1 (Betfair Sportsbook, BetVictor, Paddy Power).
Ben Pauling’s horse has run five times over fences but his last two runs have been his best, the addition of blinkers seemingly helping him put his best foot forward.
He was a good third at Ascot last time behind two chasing debutants, but he traded as low as 3.8 in-running on Betfair after being sent off 14/1 and that’s because he made a forward move to dispute the lead before the turn for home.
After that manoeuvre he didn’t quite get home, but dropping back half a mile in trip to 2m4f and a bit looks a good move on that evidence and he’s displayed he has the speed for this sort of distance in the past.
Staying three miles might not be a bad thing in this race anyway, as there looks to be plenty of pace on with Lough Derg Spirit, Warthog, Lisdoonvarna Lad and Delire D’Estruval among those likely to force the gallop.
That will suit Carlos Du Fruitier, who can put his experience to good use and run a big race at rewarding odds.
I do want to back VIVAS as well at 16/1 (General) as that sort of price does look big for a horse that is three from four over fences.
With the ground good-to-soft and no rain forecast, conditions look sure to suit this son of Davidoff whose only defeat over fences came on soft ground at Sandown.
Last time he cruised to victory over Dentley De Mee at Doncaster and a 7lb rise for that success was fully justified.
Jordan Nailor, who has won a couple of times this season on the same stable’s Aunty Ann, takes 7lb off his back, and if he gets Vivas jumping as well as Paul O’Brien did on Town Moor they’re going to have a chance.
His trainer Charlie Longsdon won this race in 2013 with Loose Chips and the selection looks his best chance of winning the prize again, with stablemate Lisdoonvarna Lad having to prove himself at the trip.
Up at Wetherby the ground is softer and that is good news for ALLYSSON MONTERG who looks the bet in the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at 14/1 (General).
He needs cut in the ground to perform to his best and he can be forgiven his seventh in the Ladbrokes Trophy last time, as tough an assignment as you can get after seven months off the track.
This is easier and he should come on for that, while the handicapper has dropped him a couple of pounds to 142, meaning he’s only 5lb higher than when winning easily at Perth in April.
With just five chase starts under his belt he remains an unexposed handicapper over this sort of distance and odds of 14/1 certainly underestimate his chance.
Finally, I’m backing MR CLARKSON at 18/1 (General) in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle at Wincanton (1.25).
David Pipe’s horses are running really well and that enhances confidence about Mr Clarkson’s prospects given he’s been off the track for 615 days.
He’s been sidelined due to a tendon injury but that does mean the handicapper allows him to run here off the same mark of 130 that he won off at Sedgefield two starts ago.
This stable can get one ready after a long absence and have also won this race twice in the last six years, while Mr Clarkson is the only representative from Pond House running on the card.
Given the promise he showed as a novice hurdler, Pipe’s patience could well be rewarded here and he’s well worth getting onside now with a market plunge not out of the question.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Ben Linfoot's Value Bet aim: The Value Bet is designed to generate long-term profit by searching for overpriced horses in the feature weekend races and at the big Festivals in the UK. Running total: +343.49pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1400 GMT on 24/12/18.