Card to win Christmas cracker
Cue Card can win the King George for a second time on Boxing Day, says Nick Grant, who a tip for each of the day's 77 races.
Cue Card: Can win the King George again
DOWN ROYAL: 12.20 Art Of Payroll, 12.50 Refused A Name, 1.20 Grand Jesture, 1.55 The Story Teller, 2.30 Black Ace, 3.00 Tethra, 3.35 Oakley Hall.
FONTWELL: 12.05 Mrs Burbidge, 12.35 Rainbow Dreamer, 1.10 Westerbee, 1.45 Mercian King, 2.15 Divine Spear, 2.50 Happy Diva, 3.25 Leith Hill Legasi,
HUNTINGDON: 12.15 Letemgo, 12.45 Rather Be, 1.20 Knight's Reward, 1.55 Periquest, 2.30 Movie Legend, 3.05 Kapgarde King, 3.40 Linenhall.
KEMPTON: 12.55 Jenkins, 1.30 Max Ward, 2.05 Anibale Fly, 2.40 Yanworth, 3.15 CUE CARD (NAP), 3.45 Ormessa Has.
LEOPARDSTOWN: 12.15 Bunk Off Early, 12.45 Felix Mendelssohn, 1.15 Bapaume, 1.50 Artful Artist, 2.20 Identity Thief, 2.55 Ball D'Arc, 3.30 Trainwreck.
LIMERICK: 12.25 Grande Waltz, 12.55 Val De Ferbet, 1.25 Ornua, 2.00 Bellshill, 2.35 Never Again, 3.05 Black Zero, 3.40 Maisy Belle.
MARKET RASEN: 12.00 Winning Ticket, 12.35 London Prize, 1.10 Un Anjou, 1.45 Vinnie Red, 2.20 Grove Silver, 2.55 The Pierre Lark, 3.30 Cobra De Mai.
SEDGEFIELD: 12.00 Hi Bob, 12.30 Cousin Oscar, 1.05 Dubai Angel, 1.40 Attimo, 2.10 Shy, 2.45 Hag Stone, 3.20 Helmsley Lad.
WETHERBY: 12.10 The Nipper, 12.40 Lime Street, 1.15 Ballycash, 1.50 Henri Parry Morgan, 2.25 Lough Salt, 3.00 Lyvius, 3.35 Groovejet.
WINCANTON: 12.30 Sister Sibyl, 1.05 Dusky Lark, 1.40 Tikkapick, 2.15 Mr Mix, 2.50 Desert Queen, 3.25 Ardkilly Witness, 3.55 Lalor.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 1.00 Heart Locket, 1.35 Hochfeld, 2.05 Tivra, 2.35 Kay Sera, 3.10 Percy's Lass, 3.45 Mythical Madness, 4.15 Final Venture, 4.45 Ravenhoe.
Experience counts for a lot in life and with that in mind Cue Card is taken to see off his younger stablemate Thistlecrack in a Christmas cracker of a 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton.
Winner of the race 12 months ago when he nailed the ill-fated Vautour as the line loomed, he was only denied a £1million bonus when falling in the Gold Cup when apparently still full of running.
Cue Card has a huge fan club, partly because of his longevity – it might even be forgotten he won the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham as a 40/1 chance in 2010 – and while for a spell some considered him an underachiever, a look at his record now puts any notion of that to bed.
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Winner of 15 of his 33 races, eight of those at the highest level, he numbers victories over the likes of Long Run and Al Ferof, both of whom are now retired.
With well over seven figures earned in prize money, he certainly owes his connections nothing and in fact looked at least as good as ever when winning a third Betfair Chase at Haydock last month.
Coneygree, who was admittedly having his first race for a year, could not live with him and the only nagging doubt is that he appears to handle very deep ground so well these days and he will not have it to suit here.
Exciting novice Thistlecrack might be the one to be on in March, but he has yet to prove he can do it on a sharp track, going flat out and jumping at top speed, so with nothing between them in the betting, Cue Card rates the safer conveyance.
Even at his peak, Kempton was always too sharp a track for The New One and with connections discussing a Stayers' Hurdle bid and novice chasing earlier in the year, it would be disappointing were he to win the 32Red Christmas Hurdle.
My Tent Or Yours looks a shadow of his former self, so Yanworth, while hardly impressive first time out in beating Lil Rockerfeller, looks the best option.
Alan King had wanted to go out in trip but Unowhatimeanharry's apparent dominance in that sphere for the same owner has seen a change of plan.
Yanworth was beaten by an exceptional horse in Yorkhill at Cheltenham in the Neptune and it is common for horses from that race to drop back to two miles, Hardy Eustace being the best example.
Irish raider Anibale Fly looks a fascinating contender in the 32Red Kauto Star Novices' Chase.
Tony Martin's charge was Barry Geraghty's choice in the Drinmore but he could only stay on into second behind Coney Island in the same JP McManus colours.
Nevertheless, it was still a good run by Anibale Fly in Grade One company for the first time and the fact he makes the journey is a tip in itself.
Henri Parry Morgan should find things easier in the 188Bet Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby than on his first outing of the season in the Hennessy.
A minor problem meant Peter Bowen was unable to get a run into him before the Newbury race and he looked a little rusty in the jumping department.
Last season he made relentless progress and with a pipe-opener under his belt, he can carry on where he left off.
Sister Sibyl can go well in the Fry's Electrical & Mechanical Mares' Novices' Hurdle at Wincanton while Westerbee is the pick in the Pertemps Network Group Novices' Hurdle at Fontwell.
Nicky Henderson's Rather Be created a big impression when winning at Hereford and should go close in the Lettergold Asset Management Ltd Novices' Hurdle at Huntingdon.
Vinnie Red let down favourite backers last time but he should strip fitter for that run in the Garthwest Chase at Market Rasen.
Cousin Oscar can strike gold for Donald McCain in the Castle Construction North East Ltd Novices' Hurdle at Sedgefield.
Mythical Madness is in a rich vein of form for David O'Meara and should take the beating in Wolverhampton's Betway Handicap.
In Ireland the four-day Leopardstown meeting starts with a cracker as Identity Thief takes on Min in the Racing Post Novice Chase, with preference for the former.
Henry de Bromhead's charge has greater all-round experience after an extra year over hurdles and he has one more race over fences under his belt than Willie Mullins' Supreme Novices' Hurdle runner-up.
In what looks set to be a real pointer towards the Arkle chances of both horses, Identity Thief always looked the type to be a better chaser, so the fact he was so good over hurdles bodes well.
Posted at 1535 GMT on 23/12/16.
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