Cyrname set for return in Ascot Chase
Three of the last seven runnings of the Welsh National have been postponed until January after their original Christmas slot succumbed to waterlogging, but somehow this year’s renewal has somehow survived one of the wettest spells that any of us can remember and will take its traditional place as the focus of the British action this afternoon.
The going at the Welsh track is not even heavy all round, with some patches of soft ground apparently clinging on at a few points on the circuit, but it will, as ever, be a thorough test for all concerned. Selections for the televised races at both Chepstow and Kempton Park, where the two-day Winter Festival meeting concludes, can be found here, and there are no non-runners anywhere on the ITV Racing schedule as yet.
But there is also plenty to consider in Ireland too, where the most interesting runner on day two of Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting is surely Chacun Pour Soi in the two-mile Grade One chase at 1.10, the first of two Grade One events on the card.
Willie Mullins’s seven-year-old is already the favourite for the Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March after just two runs for the stable last season, both of which saw him record impressive victories. It was his defeat of Defi Du Seuil at Punchestown, however, which shot him to the forefront of the Festival betting, as he cleared away from the JLT Novice Chase (and subsequent Tingle Creek) winner in the style of an exceptional chaser.
The second Grade One at Leopardstown is a two-mile novice hurdle with an odds-on favourite in Gordon Elliott’s Abacadabras, who was beaten fairly readily by his stable companion Envoi Allen in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse earlier this month, while the big betting race of the day in Ireland is the Paddy Power Chase at 2.55, in which a huge field will chase an equally impressive €200,000 prize.