AN EARLY XMAS CRACKER

The Weather Gods have relented and there should be no problems or excuses concerning the going for today’s main meeting at Sandown, which features the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase at 2.55.

This race sees the return to action of the mighty Shishkin, which was carrying all before it, before a massive blow out in the Champion Chase last March.

Subsequently found to be suffering from an esoteric bone problem, the vibes from Seven Barrows have been positive in the run up to today, but, at 11-10 this surely is no value bearing in mind the strength of the opposition.

Whilst we think top Novice Edwardstone might struggle on reappearance, the credentials of Greaneteen are well nigh impeccable.

A winner of this race last year and two more Grade 1 chases on this track, Paul Nicholls‘ 8-y-o won the Haldon Gold Cup (a handicap) off a mark of 168 on comeback and looked an improved animal.

We suggest a win bet at 15-8.

Action at Esher starts with the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at 1.45, which witnesses the next step in the upward curve of Jonbon, which is 1-3 to beat its only serious rival Boothill.

This one we just watch and move on to the Betfair Handicap Hurdle at 2.20, for which Love Envoi is the 7-4 jolly.

What this progressive horse needs for her comeback run is two and a half miles on bottomless ground and she gets neither today.

Consequently we oppose with a suggested win bet on the progressive Homme Public at 7-2.

The 2G‘s 5-y-o won comfortably at Wetherby and the inevitable rise has all but been cancelled out by Toby Wynne‘s valuable claim.

Final race on the card is the London National Handicap Chase at 3.30 which has a worthy favourite in Revels Hill.

Already proven over extreme distances, this 7-y-o ran a stormer of a comeback run at Ascot over a distance well short of its best and is worth a half decent bet this afternoon at 7-4.

Cameras are also at the meeting at Aintree for four races, starting with the Many Clouds Chase at 1.30.

Fav at 13-8 is the somewhat enigmatic Ahoy Senor, which ran like a drain on its comeback run but boasts top class form from last season. If the real one turns up, it may well win but won’t be carrying any of our moulah.

We suggest, instead, an each way bet on the very progressive young chaser Sounds Russian, which won a Kelso handicap going away off a mark of 150 on its first race since April. Ruth Jefferson‘s stable star wouldn’t have to improve much to be right there and 6-1 looks value.

We get the Becher Handicap Chase at 2.05, with a field of 22 facing the National fences and we throw two darts at this, both beaten a nose on their try over these obstacles.

Gesskille (6-1) and Hill Sixteen (12-1) are the two beasties in question and we hope that the Nos have it in the vote.

The Boylesports Handicap Chase at 2.40 is a fiercely competitive affair, but, in beating Hitman and Ga Law over this CD five weeks ago, Riders On The Storm put in a terrific performance and turns up again off just 2lbs higher. At 7-2, we must back this one.

We also want to have a modest each way tickle on the Irish raider Handsworth, which is available at a tasty 20-1 and looks well handicapped.

This just leaves the Boylesports Handicap Hurdle at 3.15, in which we are sweet on the chances of Harbour Lake, back to its unbeaten trip today, after a staying on third over two miles in the Greatwood.

The early each way price has long gone but a win bet at 4-1 is highly satisfactory, thank you.

As a continuing theme, we also suggest a small each way on the Irish trained Skippin Court, which is available at a massive 25-1 – and shouldn’t be.

Greetings to all our friends from Senegal – sorry.

Summary:

Greaneteen 2.55 Sandown 3pts win @ 15-8

Homme Public 2.20 Sandown 2pts win @ 7-2

Revels Hill 3.30 Sandown 3pts win @ 7-4

Sounds Russian 1.30 Aintree 1pt e/w @ 6-1 (2 places)

Gesskille 2.05 Aintree 1pt e/w @ 6-1 (6 places)

Hill Sixteen 2.05 Aintree 1pt e/w @ 12-1 (6 places)

Riders On The Storm 2.40 Aintree 2pts win @ 7-2

Handsworth 2.40 Aintree 1pt e/w @ 20-1 (4 places)

Harbour Lake 3.15 Aintree 2pts win @ 4-1

Skippin Court 3.15 Aintree 1pt e/w @ 25-1 (4 places)

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