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The 12 Plays of Christmas – a dozen horses to back over the festive period

The Kempton bookmakers could be under siege on Boxing Day

Our resident tipster has picked out a dozen horses to back over the Christmas period.

The busy festive period of racing is almost upon is and the following 12 horses might just help you recoup some of the Christmas expenses.

DON COSSACK (Kempton, Boxing Day)

Gordon Elliott’s charge has won eight of his nine starts over fences, including five Grade 1 victories, and was particularly impressive when slamming Cue Card by 26 lengths at Aintree in the spring. His preparation this season has gone perfectly and it’s going to take a very smart run to lower his colours in what is admittedly a strong renewal of the King George. Back at 5/2 with 888sport.

HITMAN HEARNS (Wetherby, Boxing Day)

The six-year-old has shown promise on both his British starts since coming over from Ireland and has been given a potentially lenient mark of 107 based on those efforts. His trainer Keith Dalgleish, who does well with backward types like him, looks to have found a good opportunity to exploit that and his jockey Craig Nichol seemed sweet on his chances in Monday’s Racing Post, saying he “seems to be coming right now.”

CHOOKIE ROYALE (Wolverhampton, Boxing Day)

Keith Dalgelish’s charge was far from disgraced when finishing a close fourth at the track last week when attempting to give upwards of 20lb away to the three horses who finished in front of him. Previously he’d made all when when winning at Kempton and the evergreen seven-year-old is clearly in the form of his life. He must take all the beating now back in non-handicap company.

NOT A BOTHER BOY (Market Rasen, Boxing Day)

Sue Smith has her horses in excellent form and the seven-year-old can give her another winner in the feature Clugston Lincolnshire National. The son of Flemensfirth goes into Saturday’s race in great form having two staying chases at Sedgefield and a long-distance hurdle at Southwell and escapes a penalty for that latter success here. Trevor Ryan, who is 2-2 on him, takes a handy 7lb off his back and this dour stayer can land a four-timer

TTEBBOB (Leopardstown, Boxing Day)

One of just three horses declared to take on Douvan in the Racing Post Novice Chase and he’s certainly not without a chance of overturning the red-hot favourite. He beat the 144-rated Lord Scoundrel by 41 lengths last time to go 2-2 over fences and a combination of his high cruising speed and slick jumping could get Douvan out of his comfort zone. Vautour was beaten at long odds-on in this race 12 months ago. Back at 3/1 with bet365.

KASKAH NOIR (Kempton, December 27)

This €26,000 French recruit won as he liked on his British debut, surprising his trainer Dan Skelton who expected him to be “too keen” first time out. He looks Cheltenham Festival material – 20/1 for the Supreme Novices’ with Hills – and should prove far too classy for his rivals in the William Hill Winter Festival Juvenile Hurdle.

COGRY (Chepstow, December 27)

Nigel Twiston-Davies has won the Welsh national twice before and he looks to have the ideal candidate for this year’s renewal in Cogry. The six-year-old has just about the perfect profile – a lightly-raced chaser with no stamina issues and a course victory to his name – and he had an ideal prep when a staying-on fourth in a competitive chase at Cheltenham on his reappearance. Back at 9/1 with bet365.

SIZING GOLD (Leopardstown, December 27)

The son of Flemensfirth was a promising novice chaser, finishing sixth in Taquin Du Seuil’s JLT Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, and he looks a worthy favourite for the Paddy Power Chase following his excellent return to action when third at Punchestown earlier this month. That was his first run for 583 days and providing he doesn’t bounce on his second run back, he has the potential to be at least a stone better than his current rating of 135. Back at 9/1 with bet365.

AWAYWITHTHEGREYS (Chepstow, Sunday December 27)

Peter Bowen’s grey reserves his best for the Welsh track and looks to have been laid out for a race he won 12 months ago off just a 1lb lower mark. His latest run there at the beginning of this month would have been needed after a break of over three months and he’s likely to get the heavy ground he needs – he’s a dual winner on such a surface over track and trip.

SAINT RAPH (Chepstow, Sunday December 27)

Robert Walford’s improving seven-year-old appeared to run out of stamina when fading into fifth at over 2m7f Lingfield last time and the drop back to 2m3f is very much in his favour. Previously he’d finished a fine second behind smart French import Kings Cross at Lingfield (2m4f) and he can run of the same mark here. He acts on heavy.

DJAKADAM (Leopardstown, December 28)

This year’s Lexus Chase looks a blinding renewal with Don Poli, Road To Riches, Foxrock and Djakadam set to clash. The former has been put in as favourite at 11/10 but this out-and-out stayer might be vulnerable given his tendency to hit a flat spot during his races and it was a lack of pace that proved his undoing when well beaten at Punchestown in April. Willie Mullins has never won the race surprisingly but Djakadam, who was hugely impressive when landing the John Durkan on his reappearance and surely has more to offer after just eight chase starts, can put the record straight. Back at 9/2 with Paddy Power.

LABEL DES OBEAUX (Newbury, December 29)

The French import built on the promise he showed when a close second on his British debut at Ascot with a hugely impressive victory in a Grade 2 at Sandown, where his slick jumping stood out. His trainer Alan King has made no secret of the fact he thinks he’s one of his best novices and, proven on soft ground, he will take all the beating in the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury.

Good luck and a Merry Christmas to all!

All odds were correct at time of posting.

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