The U.K. had its usual Boxing Day cards on Boxing Day (December 26) but, somehow, despite our love for copying all things British, we in Jamaica have always erred on the side of laziness and so our “Boxing Day” falls on December 27 this year.

Still some excellent racing is on across the pond highlighted by the very popular Coral Welsh National at Chepstow – a Grade 3 Handicap Chase over 3 miles 5 ½ furlongs (2:10 GMT).  As per usual, it will be run on heavy ground this year and so the sluggards will have their say.  The favourite is Giles Cross who was second last year off a 132 mark and, with last year’s easy winner Synchronised swerving the event for a crack at the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown, he’s a worthy favourite.  Of one thing favourite backers can be assured is that Giles Cross will get around as his jumping is as foot perfect as any can be.  However, he’s 4 lbs higher this year and, as a front running type, he will be very vulnerable in a race that also includes confirmed front runners like Hennessey Gold Cup winner Carruthers among others.  At a short price for such a difficult race, he must be opposed.

The three to look at include Galaxy Rock a stable companion of Synchronised whose presence in this race combined with Synchronised’s exit strongly suggests that Jonjo O’Neill is confident of his chances.   Galaxy Rock stepped up on all previous form on last to win a Grade 3 Handicap at Cheltenham by 5l.  That was on good to soft and he has issues with very soft ground so, again at shortish odds, I’ll be giving him a swerve as dangerous as he may be.

Le Beau Bai, 3rd in this race 2 years ago off 143, won his first race since that time over 3 miles around Chepstow on last having slipped to a mark of 127.  Raised just 4 lbs for that, he stays forever and the ground can’t be too soft for him so he has a chance second to none.  He wears blinkers for the third time and, once the headgear continues to work the oracle, he will be in the first 3.

But the one I like is BALLY FITZ (nap) who I selected for the race last year but who made some important blunders ending up 4th off 134.  He was beaten 9l by the favourite and is 9lbs better off yet is at three times the odds of the favourite.  He’s been lightly raced since and much has been said about his not ever winning a handicap chase but the fact is that there aren’t many of these marathons about run on heavy ground which is what suits him.  Of his 6 subsequent races, he has finished 2nd 3 times including finishing 5l second to Galaxy Rock at Cheltenham (Carruthers a further 9l back in third) for which effort he enjoys a 10lbs pull in the scales with Galaxy Rock.

BALLYFITZ (nap) is The Terrible Tout’s English Racing BET OF THE DAY and a fantastic each way flutter in a very open race.



Irish Racing Section

Over in Ireland, a nice card is on at Leopardstown and punters can have a decent bet on three good ones namely BIG ZEB who is rock solid in the Grade 1 Dial-A-Bet Chase (1:25 GMT; UBA Race 11, #1);    Lastoftheleaders, who has been laid out by trainer Arthur Moore for the Handicap Hurdle (2:30 GMT; UBA Race 24, #11) and On His Own, the ride of Ruby Walsh for trainer Willie Mullins in the Paddy Power Chase (3:05 GMT; UBA Race 32, #24)

So, tomorrow’s bets in U.K. racing are:

UBA Race 11 (1)   BIG ZEB (BANKER BET)                                                 UBA Race 19 (17)         BALLYFITZ (nap)                                                             UBA Race 24 (11)    Lastoftheleaders                                                                UBA Race 32 (24)          On His Own


Caymanas Park

Back home, the usual “Boxing Day” feature is the Jamaica 2yo Stakes and this year’s renewal, although run under a cloud due to the tragic death of ante-post favourite Run Cyaan Dun, is now a wide open event in which any number can play.

The draw for post positions has helped to this end because there is no doubt that Potcheen is the class of the race and would otherwise have been a confident selection but both he and the likely favourite El Patron have been handed the two worst draws in the field and seem certain to be victimized.  At this early stage of their development, 2yos can’t be expected to overcome that sort of disadvantage unless they are heads and shoulders above the rest which isn’t the case.  So the race screams “upset” and we must look outside of the top two in the betting for a likely winner.

Those to concentrate on must include #3 Poochie Liu who has the third worst draw but her style of running (held up well off the pace) means that she won’t be significantly inconvenienced as she can pick her spot down the backstretch from among the backmarkers.  There’s no more suitable jockey assignment for the task at hand than the very patient Aaron Chatrie and I am expecting big things from this filly who came from 10 lengths behind at the furlong pole in the Grade 3 Pick 3 race to stage an impressive late rally up the far rail ending up a mere 4l 6th behind El Patron and All Correct.  By the time the field reached the round mile, Poochie Liu was on the heels of the winner.

All Correct must also be given a good chance but he wasn’t making much headway against El Patron in the last furlong of that same race.  Also after 6 starts, he is looking a tad exposed now for a 2yo and has been beaten soundly by both El Patron and Potcheen.  We’ll look elsewhere for the winner.

At the end of the year Wayne DaCosta will win his 11th Trainers Championship and he has a very strong hand in this race not least of which with the classy filly My Friend Lucy who opened her account on the second time of asking in a sparkling time on a slow track.  Most importantly, she showed a nice turn of foot and closed her final furlong in 13.2 which is the best of the entire field.  She steps up big time in grade here and her breeding (half sister to Champion Sprinter Awhofah) does not inspire confidence that she will genuinely stay a mile but she runs like a miler and will be a big force in the finish of this race.

The most interesting entry here is the filly PHILISTIA (#13) who was only 7th in the Pick 3 race but that was her second race lifetime and her first time on lasix a medication that can affect fillies adversely first time.  What is interesting to note is that she was held up off the early fractions in that race and moved nicely into All Correct’s slipstream under 3 furlongs out before running one paced up the straight.  She cocked her head on the turn which, because of her inexperience, was probably a sign of greenness.  Yet she was only 4 ½ lengths behind El Patron in the end, keeping on well final furlong, a neck or so behind Poochie Liu.  Next time at the wicket, she made no mistake defeating Poochie Liu by all of 5l in a nw2. She is fit as hands can make her; is well drawn; and will make a bold bid here.

And let me assure readers that there should be no stamina issues.  Apart from her seeing out the 7f of the Pick 3 race well enough, her dam, Comegowithme is out of the top class producer Midnight Angel which makes Comegowithme a half sister to Triple Crown winner and Horse of The Year I’M SATISFIED; Grade 1 winner Satisfier (both by The Medic); 2000 Guineas winner Steel Dawn (by French Champagne); multiple winners in Jamaica and Trinidad Supremely Satisfied(by Law of the Sea), who won the Grade 3 Prince Consort Stakes and Leonidas (by Royal Minister) who was 2nd in the Prince Consort; and, finally to Muchacha Favourita, the dam of Superstakes winner HOMBRE and of Hermoso Amigo.

So this PHILISTIA, whose dam is bred in the purple out of a producer who throws multiple Graded Stakes winners as well as a producer of a superstakes winner, will have no problem with the one mile of tomorrow’s race and, at likely double digit odds, is the one to bet on.  My Friend Lucy must be respected and looks all over a future 1,000 Guineas winner but this might come too soon for her (she is making a big step up having been unraced until November 26) but she and Potcheen can form a very profitable exacta and quiniela box with the selection PHILISTIA.

Good Luck!


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