BUVEUR CAN GIVE THE TEAM A LATE CHRISTMAS PRESENT
I’m looking forward to spending the next couple of days at home with my family for Christmas, but the thought of getting back on Buveur D’Air in the Unibet Christmas Hurdle at Kempton (14:30) on Wednesday won’t be too far from my mind either.
He gave me the best feel he’s ever given me when winning the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle last time and the handicapper liked what he saw too as he put him up 3lb to a career-high mark of 172. He is a horse that hasn’t always got the credit we felt he deserved, but I can sense that changing after what he did at Newcastle.
Considering he took a blow at the second-last flight that day, there’s every chance that he’ll improve from the run too. He really does give every impression of being in his prime right now. There doesn’t appear to be the same strength of opposition to him here as there was at Newcastle and he will be a short price, so you just hope that everything goes smoothly and it proves to be as straightforward as all known form suggests it should be.
In terms of tactics, Buveur D’Air has shown before that lack of early pace in a race isn’t a big problem for him, but Global Citizen is a free-goer that often makes the running and he looks likely to lead. Either way, I’ll be happy that my lad can cope with whatever happens in front of him.
While a lot of people tend to frame these races in the context of being trials for Cheltenham, this is a proper race in its own right and deserves its own pedestal. I’m really looking forward to it and all being well it will go smoothly.
My other ride on the card is another exciting one on the Nick Gifford-trained Didtheyleaveuoutto in the 32Red Casino Novices’ Hurdle (12:50). It isn’t a novice hurdle with Listed or Graded status attached to it, but it wouldn’t look at all out of place if it did. It’s a proper race.
The key piece of form would look to be the novice hurdle at Ascot last month where Didtheyleaveuoutto beat Thomas Darby by a head. I was very happy with Didtheyleaveuoutto that day. He settled, jumped well, quickened and battled, it was a super performance. He gives every impression of being a smart horse.
That said, he faces a tough task on paper here, as Thomas Darby is taking him on again and is 3lb better off. While he probably needs to improve again to uphold that form, this course and distance will be a sharper test of speed than it was at Ascot and that could well suit my fella.
Despite being out of a half-sister to Denman, he has shown loads of pace in his races. It will be fascinating to see how the rematch pans out, but I wouldn’t rule out The Big Bite either who has looked smart in his last two runs. We should learn plenty about our horse and I’d be hopeful he can improve enough to win.
I don’t have a ride in the 32Red King George VI Chase(15:05), but I’m very much looking forward to seeing it. It looks a particularly competitive renewal on paper, but I can’t help but find myself siding with Might Bite. If you are happy to forgive him his last time, he has looked to be the best three-mile chaser around on decent ground.
He might just have needed the run a bit in the Betfair Chase last time, but to be fair I do think there was something significant in what was said about the fences that day. You could see the way the horses were reacting to them that there was something not quite right and it seems they were oversized.
That might just have been enough to throw Might Bite out of his comfort zone and back over more orthodox fences we might well see him back to his best. It should be a great race.