ITV Racing keep it coming with another six races thrown at us today in the shape of four from Leopardstown where the feature race is the Savills Chase and the return of As Plus Tard and a brace of handicaps from Leicester. Here are my top ITV Racing tips on the six races.
ITV Racing Tips
A bumper field with twenty-eight hurdlers lining up, for this 3M Pertemps handicap hurdle looking to qualify for the Final at Cheltenham in March. As always it’s a very hard race to get a handle on as many will be looking to protect the handicap mark but finish close enough to qualify so without any inside knowledge bets are best kept to a minimum.
The first horse to look at has to be the likely favourite Maxxum, one of a staggering ten runners from the County Meath stables of Gordon Elliott. Maxxum bolted up by an easy nine lengths hard held in a similar race at Navan in November against twenty-one rivals and although he’s been shunted up 17lb for that victory should still be competitive under Jack Kennedy who appears to have had the pick of many of the Elliott runners.
Leading owner JP McManus has four entries with ‘stable’ jockey Mark Walsh aboard Gavin Cromwell’s Perceval Legallois who is another one who should be in the mix. Such was Maxxum’s ease with which he won last time I’ll take him to small stakes each way with enhanced places in a race that actually doesn’t appeal to me too much.
MAXXUM 1/2 point each way @ 6/1 bet365 1/5th 123456
A field of eleven hurdlers assemble for the three-mile Christmas Hurdle run in the memory of young Jack De Bromhead. 2020 winner and last year’s runner up Flooring Porter heads the market and is the highest rated of the runners today. He ran 4th in what is the key form race last time out at Navan over 2m 4F. That contest, the grade 2 Railway Bar Lismullen Hurdle, was won by Home By The Lee by two lengths from Bob Olinger with Ashdale Bob ten lengths further behind in third. Flooring Porter was beaten 12 1/4L but is 9lb better off now and will surely appreciate today’s half a mile further distance.
The winner and second re-oppose and it may well be that Henry De Bromhead’s Bob Olinger can turn the tables with that run (his first for 218 days) behind him. He travelled so well to the last and then seemed to fall into a heap with some pundits saying he didn’t put it all in. I’ll go with the ‘blew up’ theory and how apt would it be for De Bromhead to win this contest named in memory of his son who died far too young earlier this year in a riding accident.
BOB OLINGER 1 point win @ 10/3 William Hill
The three-mile Savills Chase is a grade one contest and has been won by some very smart chasers over the years. Henry De Bromhead, who has his team in fine form currently running at a 22% win ratio over the past fortnight, saddles his 15L Cheltenham Gold Cup winner A Plus Tard here.
A winner of this very contest two years ago and runner-up to Galvin in this race last year he was way below his best on his seasonal re-appearance when pulling up in the Betfair Chase at Haydock when a well-supported 1/2 chance. The run was too bad to be true and it transpired that he was suffering from a travel-related illness.
Surely better than that he must be backed at odds against to beat several horses he’s already beaten in his career. Had he not flopped at Haydock he would be going off a very warm odds on favourite here. He’s officially 12lb and upwards better than these and is a confident selection. Kemboy was ahead of Galvin and Conflated when runner-up to Envoi Allen (well beaten in King George on Monday) in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase and maybe the one to chase As Plus Tard home.
A PLUS TARD 3 points win @ 6/4 William Hill
A nine-runner class 3 handicap hurdle run over just short of two miles on heavy ground. Top weight Playful Saint stands out to me despite having to carry the steadier of twelve stone. Trained by Dan Skelton and ridden by his brother Harry, the seven-year-old has shown decent form in the three outings he’s run since joining the Skelton’s from France. His latest effort when going down by just 3/4L to Love Envoi, a Cheltenham Festival winner last season, was a fine effort and he handles very soft ground well having won on it in March at Wetherby. He will take some beating.
Washington has questions to answer now having flopped last time out whilst Jamie Snowden’s handicap debutant Milldam doesn’t look in the same league as my selection.
A watchful eye should be kept on the David Pipe-trained Martinhal who has fallen 13lb for his last three outings and returns following wind surgery. Playful Saint is a confident selection.
PLAYFUL SAINT 3 points win @ 15/8 William Hill
Only six line up for this 2m 5F Beginners Chase but an intriguing race it is none the less. A warm favourite here is the ex-Nicky Henderson-trained I Am Maximus who on his first run for the Willie Mullins battalion went down by a short head to the smart Minella Crooner in a similar contest at Fairyhouse. His jumping left something to be desired that day, jumping out to his left and will surely benefit plenty from the outing.
At odds on mind, he is no value as let’s not forget as a hurdler he would have had 16lb to find with Gentlemansgame who’s making his chasing debut today for Mouse Morris. He should jump a fence as he won his only point-to-point by 5L (from Boxing Day’s Kempton winner Balco Coastal) and was an outstanding hurdler winning twice and placed behind the likes of Klassical Dream and Galopin Des Champs. I’ll take him to upset the favourite and win on his chasing debut under Darragh O’Keefe.
GENTLEMANSGAME 1 point win @
Ten go to post for this class 3 2m 4F handicap chase which will be run on much less testing ground than the chase course on good ground. Top and bottom weights Tap Tap Boom and Dame Du Soir’s form lines tie in together with slight preference for the latter who won well enough at Cheltenham last time out whilst Dan Skelton’s Our Jet made a promising re-appearance/chasing debut at Southwell a month ago when runner up to Gemirande.
He should run well but my fancy is the Nicky Henderson-trained Ile De Jersey who should be chasing a hat trick following a win at Southwell on good ground last month prior to falling at the last when having the race sewn up at Taunton on her fencing debut. She looks a progressive chaser from Seven Barrows and under Nico De Boinville can win again having only risen 10lb for those two efforts.
ILE DE JERSEY 2 points win @ 7/2 bet365