Mark Howard Publications Ltd

Christmas Special winners Epatante (Advised @ 9/2) & Opposites Attract (15/8)

26-December-2019 17:25
in General
by Admin

There were some bubbles burst in Ireland on Boxing Day, particularly in the novice chase department with Faugheen emphatically brushing aside Samcro at Limerick, while Notebook made it three out of three in the Grade 1 Racing Post Novices' Chase at Leopardstown lowering the colours of Fakir D'Oudairies and Laurina in the process.

However, the day belonged to Paul Nicholls who won the King George at Kempton for a record breaking eleventh time as Clan Des Obeaux made it back to back successes in the Christmas showpiece. With Harry Cobden electing to partner the highest rated chaser in training and stablemate Cyrname, it was Sam Twiston-Davies who did the steering aboard the seven year old. As expected, it was Cyrname who set the tempo and everything appeared to be going to plan leaving the backstraight with market rival Lostintranslation making a series of uncharacteristic mistakes and being in trouble some way from home before eventually pulling up. However, last year's winner loomed up travelling strongly at the third last and swept clear thereafter to win decisively by twenty one lengths. Runner-up at Down Royal on his reappearance, it was a superb display by the winner. Cyrname held on for second place but left the impression he didn't get home. Expect him to drop back in trip next time.

Epatante propelled herself to the top of the ante-post market for the Champion Hurdle with an equally impressive display in the Christmas Hurdle. An easy winner of the Gerry Feilden Hurdle at Newbury on her reappearance off a mark of 137, she took this step up in class in her stride with Barry Geraghty's mount always travelling smoothly. Th ex-French trained filly has settled much better in her races this term, her jumping was quick and accurate as she toyed with her nine opponents. A five lengths scorer, she is all speed and relishes flat tracks. The burning question now is over whether she will prove as effective at Cheltenham, especially having failed to fire there last March. Featured in last year's Top 40, Nicky Henderson's daughter of No Risk At All is a class act. Last year's Champion Hurdle third Silver Streak ran well in second but had no answer to the winner's turn of foot. He is an admirable horse in his own right and has proved a fantastic buy for Evan Williams.

Epatante's victory was a good result for Christmas Special subscribers having been advised at 9/2, while Declan Phelan's Irish Angle piece produced a couple of winners at Down Royal, namely Opposites Attract (15/8) and Farouk D'Alene (4/6). The latter is also featured in the Top 40 Prospects and Gordon Elliott's new recruit looked well above average as he sauntered to a seventeen lengths win in the concluding bumper at Down Royal. Partnered by Jamie Codd, he made all and never looked like being beaten. Purchased for £260,000 having won his only point-to-point for Donnchadh Doyle, his work beforehand had reportedly been very good and his rider described him as 'a monster' afterwards. Likely to be kept to bumpers this season, he is a hugely exciting prospect.

Finally, congratulations to who were responsible for the Lincolnshire National winner at Market Rasen. Hugo 'N Taz (5/1) was having his first run for the syndicate and trainer David Pipe having been acquired out of Denis Hogan's yard for £19,000 in August. The eight year old won by four lengths under David Noonan and readers of One Jump Ahead can't say they weren't told - please see page 56. This had been the plan for sometime and it paid off handsomely. Well done to racing manager James Couldwell for another shrewd acquistion. 


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