Wally's Wagers - Old Guard’s Hurdle glory

Wally's Wagers with Darren Walters

Wally's Wagers with Darren Walters

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Old Guard put in a fantastic performance to claim the Stan James Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday under jockey Sam Twiston Davies.

Considering his recent form and the manner he won his previous race, I was slightly surprised to see the Paul Nicholls-trained four- year-old return at odds of 7-1.

I was delighted to see my three tips last weekend run so well, Old Guard and Sego Success (4-1) both won, with Buywise running a creditable fourth. His jumping was slightly off but he’s definitely a horse to keep backing with confidence though.

With the festive season upon us that can only mean two things, Santa Claus and the King George VI Chase on boxing day.

The strength and depth of the race is overwhelming, there’s so much talent.

Cue Card looked exceptional in both his outings this season, he firmly put Silviniaco Conti in his place at Haydock last time.

Smad Place looked a completely different horse last season in the Hennessy Gold Cup and will be an obvious danger if in similar form.

Horse racing is all about opinions and in my opinion Don Cossack is the best bet.

When AP McCoy rode him to victory in last year’s Melling Chase at the Aintree festival, he spoke very highly about the eight-year-old after the race and he gave the impression that this is a special horse.

Watching him this season confirms that, he has won his races with lots of ease and authority and you get the impression that more is to come, 11-4 is a fair price.

On to Ascot this Saturday and it is a good quality card to get stuck into.

The last three races of the day are the ones to concentrate on.

The 2.25 Long Walk Hurdle is a race that revolves around how good Saphir Du Rheu will be going back to hurdles from chasing.

I think he is a better hurdler than a chaser and he gets my vote.

The Sodexo Silver cup at 3.00 looks a very competitive handicap on paper.

Richard Johnson earmarked Fingal Bay as ‘a winner waiting to happen’ after his defeat in the Hennessy Gold Cup last month.

Considering i tipped him for that race, i was disappointed he didn’t win but was left with impression he will improve for next time.

Currently 13-2 in the betting, i can guarantee he will start the race shorter than that and he must have a big chance with the team going so well.

The final race is the Ladbroke Hurdle and if you watched Renneti in his last start, you will understand why i am sweet on this Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old.

He came from out the back last time in a race won by Old Guard.

That form is strong, 10-1 is too big and he must have a chance under Ruby Walsh.

I would like to wish you all a merry christmas and all the best for 2016.

Wally’s Wagers

Ascot, 2.15 Saphir Du Rheu 7-4,

3.00 Fingal Bay 13-2

3.35 Renneti 10-1.