Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 24th 2014 Contents A54
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, December 24, 2014
14-17--- 10.30 am
3-36--- 1 pm
32-24--- 6.30 pm
Times played this year
10.30 am 1 pm 6.30 pm Total
01 CENTIPEDE 9 7 8 24
02 OLD LADY
04 DEAD MAN
05 PARSONMAN 15 8 8 3
15 SICK WOMAN 4
18 WATERBOAT 7 13 2 22
10.30 am 1 pm 6.30pm Total
27 LITTLE SNAKE 8 10 3 21
28 RED FISH
29 OPIUM MAN
30 HOUSE CAT
31 PARSONWIFE 5 10 5 20
34 BLIND MAN
35 BIG SNAKE
LAST DRAW: TUESDAY
WHEN DE MARK BUSS
Play Whe results to December 23
33 (Spider) 1 pm
29 (Opium Man) 10.30 am
8 (Tiger) 6.30 pm
TODAY'S STAR BETS
35 (Big Snake)
5 (Parson Man)---10.30 am
21 (Mouth)---1 pm
15 (Sick Woman)---6.30 pm
Cue Card represents a sporting bet for
the grade one King George Chase over
three miles of good to soft Kempton on
Boxing Day; a Xmas showpiece which
never fails to prove dramatic and immense-
ly topical for enthusiastic pundits.
A list of greats, Desert Orchid, Kauto Star,
Best Mate and, of course, "The Greatest"
of all time, Arkle, have thrilled us down the
years for this ultra-competitive marathon
that invariably justifies serious analysis; set-
weight races are best bets, especially at this
Last year, Cue Card was runner-up to
Paul Nicholls-trained evergreen, Silviniano
Conti, beaten three and a half lengths, having
looked certain to prevail two out.
Ground conditions found out Cue Card
in the closing stages and, obviously, the
racing family Tizzard family will be hoping
it rides a deal faster; Colin and 35-year-
old son, Joe, former partner of this won-
derful eight-year-old, have been delighted
with recent gallops at their west-country
A clutch of strongly-fancied three milers,
from fashionable yards, include Irish-
raider, Champagne Fever, Pipe-trained
Dynaste, in-form Wishful Thinking and
others but this could be another day for
jockey Daryl Jacob to thwart his ex-boss,
Nicholls, aboard Cue Card; I ll bet he
comes up trumps.
Faugheen is favourite for the Champion
Hurdle next March and is 1/2 for the grade
one Christmas Hurdle over two miles; this
unbeaten seven-year-old is about to be test-
ed even though Nigel Twiston-Davies hasn t
declared The New One.
Tony McCoy rides Purple Bay, a massive
improver and the 40-year-old nineteen-
times champion will be riding this one pos-
itively to cause an upset.
Irving will also be in the mix and Nicky
Henderson saddles Sign Of A Victory; it
should be an absolute cracker and at afore-
mentioned odds I ll have to lay Faugheen,
despite what Ruby Walsh has been saying
about his amazing potential.
What a day to relish, EIGHT jumping
fixtures and EIGHT races scheduled for rac-
ing on Wolverhampton where thrice-raced
Lamps Of Heaven is expected to go one
better in the Maiden Stakes over five furlongs
of the splendid, recently-laid Tapeta surface.
Play Cue Card SELECTIONS
9.10 LAMPS OF HEAVEN
10.35 PURPLE BAY
11.10 CUE CARD
Silviniaco Conti faces nine rivals in the defence
of his King George crown as all ten horses stand
their ground at Kempton for the Boxing Day high-
Paul Nicholls horse beat Cue Card and stable-
mate Al Ferof to the prize 12 months ago and last
year s top three all run again.
Nicholls has a third string to his bow in Won-
The new kid on the block is Willie Mullins
Champagne Fever, who bids to land the prize for
the Irish Champion Trainer for the first time since
Florida Pearl in 2001.
Philip Hobbs is double-handed with Menorah
and Wishfull Thinking, with Barry Geraghty taking
the reins on the latter.
Dynaste takes his chance for David Pipe, Johns
Spirit goes for Jonjo O Neill and Double Ross, to
be ridden by Ryan Hatch, will line up for Nigel
Silviniaco Conti s jockey Noel Fehily is in con-
"It was a very good performance in the Betfair
and if he reproduces something like that, hopefully
he goes there with a big chance," the jockey told
At The Races.
"I wasn t disappointed with his run at Wetherby
at all, the ground was a lot quicker than everyone
said it was---he felt great and jumped great, he
turned in and the two-and-a-half-mile horses just
came by him very quickly and he got a bit tired."
Silviniaco Conti heads a formidable three-pronged
assault on the festive feature for the champion
trainer, who has won the King George a record
Al Ferof, the mount of Sam Twiston-Davies,
finished a distant third in last year s renewal, but
Nicholls believes his charge returns in much better
The flying grey certainly looked the part on his
return to action in the Amlin 1965 Chase at Ascot.
Nicholls said: "For whatever reason he seems to
be much better in himself this year than he was
last year, he had a few problems, ulcers.
"He wasn t beaten too far in the Ryanair and I
don t think he was at his best last spring. I just
thought he jumped left and was a little bit lethargic.
I don t think the twice he s run at three miles he s
been at his best.
"On his Ascot run you d say he was a different
horse as he hadn t been in that long, so he s bound
to have improved. From my point of view, that
was his best ever run over fences as the form has
"If it s not too soft he could be a different propo-
sition this year."
Nick Scholfield will partner Nicholls-trained
outsider Wonderful Charm.
It is nine years since the Irish last claimed King
George glory with Tom Taaffe s dual winner Kicking
King and Champagne Fever carries the hopes of
a nation this time around.
A former winner of the Champion Bumper and
the Supreme Novices Hurdle, the seven-year-old
came within a whisker of completing a Cheltenham
Festival hat-trick when touched off in last season s
He made a sparkling reappearance in the Clonmel
Oil Chase over two and a half miles and trainer
Willie Mullins, who won the King George with the
popular Florida Pearl in 2001, is confident a step
up to three miles will not be a problem for his
bold-jumping and strong-travelling grey.
Cue Card and Dynaste were joint-favourites for
last year s King George, having finished first and
second respectively at Haydock.
beat nine to
Willie Mullins thinks Faugheen has made
"extraordinary" progress ahead of his latest
big-race assignment in the williamhill.com
Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.
When the attractive six-year-old was gal-
loping through Somme-like conditions to
win a novice hurdle over three miles at Lim-
erick last Christmas, few would have expect-
ed him to be heading ante-posts lists for
the Champion Hurdle 12 months on.
However, stunning displays at Cheltenham
and Punchestown in the spring meant con-
nections had to at least discuss heading
down the Champion Hurdle route this term
and he could not have been more impressive
on his return at Ascot last month.
Faugheen s odds for the hurdling crown
are likely to shorten further if he can dispose
of his five Boxing Day rivals.
Mullins said: "Faugheen has predomi-
nantly raced over further but a lot of the
time that was just to keep him apart from
the others and I knew that he could stay.
"We ran him over three miles in heavy
ground last Christmas so he has plenty of
"He s surprised me that he s as good as
he is. His point form was nothing special.
I think he won his point-to-point in May
and I m not sure he has a pedigree that he d
be a Champion Hurdle favourite, so it s a
"When he came here my first impression
was that he might have been worth half the
money we paid for him, but that is true of
half the horses that arrive here.
"Last year when he won (at Cheltenham)
he was as fit as the hand of god, as they
say. He was so fit there wasn t a pick left
on him, this year he has come back and
could be 100 weight heavier.
"When I sent him to Ascot, I was worried
going there with the size of him. Dan Skel-
ton, who stood in for me on the day,
remarked to Ruby (Walsh) that he d never
saddled a horse as fat as that for a big race.
If he can do that with that amount of con-
dition on him there must be huge improve-
ment in him .
"The day we bought Faugheen we were
looking at a novice chasing career. Whether
he ll jump a fence now or not I don t know,
that will depend on his next two runs. I
wouldn t have dreamt about Champion
Hurdles when we bought him, though.
"It s extraordinary the progress he has
Mullins expects Faugheen to progress
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