With no racing here in Ireland until St Stephen’s Day (or Boxing Day as it’s known with you), it’s a nice opportunity to spend some time with the family. Christmas Day will just be a quiet affair at home, although that may not be possible with four kids running around the place! We will have some fun ahead of the serious stuff at Leopardstown on Wednesday where I’ve got some cracking rides to look forward to…
DARK DECADE (12.10pm)
I ride a nice newcomer for Gordon (Elliott) in the opener who is bound to come on plenty for this debut. He can be a bit of a handful, but this experience will do him the world of good. His stablemate Vision D’Honneur looks a smart new recruit, while I know that Henry (De Bromhead) thinks a fair bit of Dancing On My Own who has the benefit of having had a couple of runs already.
SONG OF NAMIBIA (12.40pm)
Paloma Blue won this maiden hurdle for me 12 months ago and this year I’m onboard Song Of Namibia for Gordon who is having his first day at school in terms of the jumping game. He’s got plenty of experience on the flat, starting off with Sir Michael Stoute and then moving here to join Ger Lyons. His only win came here in Leopardstown so hopefully he’ll enjoy it just as much with the hurdles in the way. City Island won on his hurdling debut but lost the race after a positive test and looks one of the bigger dangers in what looks quite an open race.
CHIEF JUSTICE (1.10pm)
It will be fascinating to see whether my mount Chief Justice can again see off the well-regarded Coeur Sublime after their battle at Fairyhouse last time. My fella is 4lbs better off at the weights, so on paper should uphold the form, but it’s never really that simple. I know that Coeur Sublime has come on again in recent weeks and this track may just suit him a little better too. We will of course give it our best shot.
I’m looking forward to riding Warnaq for the first time in the novice handicap hurdle. She won nicely at Navan the last day and looks a filly on the upgrade. This looks a bit tougher and she will have to step up again, but she must have a decent chance. There look to be dangers everywhere with Joseph’s (O’Brien) Aforementioned looking the most obvious threat.
MENGLI KHAN (2.20pm Racing Post Novice Chase)
The big race of the day on these shores is the Grade One Racing Post Novice Chase and I’m thrilled to have been asked to partner Mengli Khan again after his pleasing debut at Punchestown. That was a really nice introduction, but he steps up to the top table here and will have to improve again and brush up on his jumping. He will have learned a lot from that first start and I’m looking forward to getting back aboard. He faces five rivals with Voix Du Reve looking the main threat. It’s interesting that they are stepping Le Richebourg back in trip too, but hopefully my lad will step up to the task.
My final ride of the day is Cubomania who was actually travelling okay when he fell last time. He steps down in trip and grade here and hopefully can be competitive again. I suppose my only slight reservation would be that he has had a really busy summer and I hope he won’t start to feel the effects of that campaign. Fingers crossed he will go well in what looks the most competitive race of the day.
As for the action over at Kempton, it’s pretty hard to call the winner of the King George VI Chase. Might Bite won the race 12 months ago and is on a comeback mission after slightly disappointing at Haydock last time. We all know what a good horse he is on his day and if one man can bring him back it’s Nicky Henderson. He will have to be at his best though with the likes of Native River, Thistlecrack, Bristol De Mai, Waiting Patiently and Politologue all up against him. It promises to be some race.
It only remains for me to wish you all a very Happy Christmas.
If you have a question for Davy drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try and include in the next blog…