The 12 plays of Christmas – Part 1

Clan Des Obeaux and Thistlecrack in the 2018 King George VI Chase at Kempton

The Festive period is always a treat for racing fans. It has even more of an importance in 2020, given so many will be looking to end a difficult year on a high. Although the final declarations for the Christmas racing are not out yet, we’ve taken an early look through the action.

We will have free horse racing tips for Boxing Day and the 27th later on this week. There is a mix of win bets, each way outsiders and a couple of lays for the weekend to get stuck into. We also have a big selection of free bets from the bookmakers, so let’s get going with the first half of the 12 plays of Christmas.

1 – WIN – Clan Des Obeaux – Ladbrokes King George VI Chase

This will come as no surprise for regular followers. As discussed in our King George VI tip – “You won’t see a better 9/4 shot all year” our team of tipsters are all over a hat-trick of wins in the race for Clan Des Obeaux. This is his Gold Cup in the same way that the Betfair Chase was Bristol De Mai’s. He always comes on plenty for his seasonal debut which should scare his rivals.

2 – WIN – Epatante – Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle

Not a tip that requires a crystal ball but the mare can cement her place at the top of the tree in her division. An easy winner of this race in 2019, she will form the cornerstone of many Christmas accas this time around. Her turn of foot to put the Fighting Fifth to bed on her return was impressive and this speed track clearly suits her well.

3 – WIN – Shan Blue – Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase

A solid hurdler last season but the move to chasing has seen him take off. Eleven lengths behind Shiskin in the Sidney Banks at Huntingdon was his best run over the smaller obstacles so a flat right-handed track is fine. He sluiced up trying this trip for the first time at Wetherby and can continue his progression.

4 – E/W Outsider – Big River  – Coral Welsh Grand National Handicap Chase

A lightly-raced type for his age, heavy ground is very much to his liking. He was a staying on fifth in the 2019 Scottish National, that run on good ground so, an effort that can be marked up. He has a string of solid runs in the book in staying chases, fourth and fifth in the last two editions of the Ultima at the Cheltenham Festival and this should suit better.

5 – E/W Outsider – Western Victory – Matchbook Betting Exchange Faugheen Novices’ Chase

In a race where most eyes will be on Asterion Forlonge, Western Victory can get involved at a big price. She produced the best effort of her life when third to Shattered Love and Cabaret Queen at Clonmel last time. Right-handed on heavy ground again here and if she can repeat that RPR of 145, she’d be a lot closer to the principals than the market suggests.

6 – LAY – Energumene – Racing Post Novice Chase

Visually impressive when winning over two and a half miles on heavy ground at Gowran last time out. Drops back in trip now and encounters much quicker ground conditions, both of which ask a very different question of him, especially in this sort of company. The likes of Felix Desjy have far more substance to their form and over this trip so the Willie Mullins horse looks worth taking on.

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