Some fabulous Boxing Day Premier League action to get our teeth into and I think there are a couple of decent bets to pay for the excesses,
The Stadium Of Light will be rocking after Sunderland’s win in the Tyne-Wear derby last weekend and Steve Bruce will not be looking forward to taking his Hull side back to his former club given the suspensions and injury problems they currently have.
The Black Cats are 21/20 to pick up all three points and they should be good enough to follow up Sunday’s Derby success.
Liverpool are not having the rub of the green at present and really should have had more to show than the single point they have picked up against United and Arsenal in recent weeks.
Raheem Sterling might be more of a threat away from Anfield given his pace on the break and the Reds are another confident selection at 5/6, away to Burnley.
Swansea (4/5) rested Wilfried Bony against Hull last weekend but the Ivorian looks sure to take his place in the starting XI against Villa at the Liberty Stadium.
Bony has more PL goals than anyone in the PL this year (20) and I think they will have too much for a Villa side who got an excellent point against United last weekend.
The King George VI Chase is the Christmas racing highlight of a wonderful Boxing Day card at Kempton Park with last year’s 1-2-3 Silviniaco Conti,
Cue Card and Al Ferof all facing the starter again on ground forecast to be good to soft.
BetVictor have a cracking Xmas offer on the race and will refund losing win stakes on the runner up (max £20) as a free bet. Last year’s winner Silviniaco Conti is a multiple Grade 1 winner and a worthy 9/4 favourite for a race that has a history of throwing up multiple winners; indeed the three previous winners of this prestigious and valuable race landed the race at least twice with the incomparable Kauto Star winning five between 2006 and 2011.
Silviniaco Conti, trained by Paul Nicholls who has saddled the winner on no less than eight previous occasions, has won on good ground but is, arguably, better when the mud is flying and Friday’s better ground certainly brings Cue Card into calculations.
The latter looked all over the winner when going clear over the second last twelve months ago but his stride suddenly shortened and he was reeled in by the winner whose stamina won the day. Cue Card has not been at his best so far this season but will have his each way supporters at 9/1 with BetVictor.
There has not been an Irish winner of the race since Kicking King back in 2005 but Champagne Fever (3.10) can buck that trend and give trainer Willie Mullins another King George thirteen years after Florida Pearl scored under Adrian Maguire back in 2001. I think he might drift on the day and we might get a bit bigger than his current odds of 3/1 with BetVictor.
Punters are still shaking their heads as to how Champagne Fever was beaten in the Arkle on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival last season by 33/1 shot Western Warhorse and the grey has yet to race over 3 miles since winning his point-to-point at Quakerstown back in the spring of 2011.
The Christmas Hurdle sees the unbeaten Faugheen (2.35) put his Champion Hurdle credentials on the line for Mullins and he cannot be opposed even over this sharp two miles. The selection was a brilliant winner of the Neptune Hurdle over 2m5f at Cheltenham back in the spring before showing his versatility and speed when making all dropped back in trip at Punchestown. He is one of the most exciting horses I have seen for many a long day and he cannot be opposed.
The third Grade 1 on the card is the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase named for the first time in honour of Nicholls’ five-time King George winner and the Champion trainer saddles both Virak and Saphir Du Rheu (2.00) and it is the latter who gets the vote. The selection put behind a Newbury fall on his chasing debut when easily disposing of a decent field at Exeter last time. Coneygree, who took advantage of Saphir Du Rheu’s Newbury fall, is likely to try and grind it out from the front but might lack the class of the Nicholls’ runner who is considered top class by his astute handler.
Stellar Notion (1.25) is a horse I have earmarked for the Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival won by Present View last season and he is surely going to rate a lot higher than his current mark of 129 in time. I was asked for one horse to follow this season in numerous publications this term and my reply was always Stellar Notion.
For all your sporting odds this Xmas click here - and have a Merry Christmas.