Peter Scudamore’s Christmas Crackers: Shan Blue can continue his brilliant start over fences at Kempton, while Nicky Henderson’s Shishkin should maintain his unbeaten record
- Speedy Shan Blue will take some beating in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase
- Shishkin can maintain his unbeaten record in the Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase
- Fury Road can come out on top in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown
The eight-time champion jockey picks out the five horses he is most looking forward to seeing over the festive period.
Shan Blue (Kempton, Boxing Day)
I am a huge fan of The Big Breakaway and retain faith in him despite his surprise defeat at Exeter last time. But given he is a strong galloping type, the speedier Shan Blue may have his measure round Kempton in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase.
Shishkin (Kempton, Sunday)
Nicky Henderson fields an exceptionally strong team over the two days of Kempton’s Christmas meeting with Epatante, Santini and Altior in action, though perhaps the most exciting of all is Shishkin. Last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner made a flawless transition to chasing on his reappearance and he should maintain his unbeaten record over fences in the Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase.
Shishkin should maintain his unbeaten record over fences in the Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase
Nassalam (Chepstow, Sunday)
This horse, formerly trained in France, has created a big impression in winning both starts in Britain, scoring by a combined 108 lengths. The ground will be incredibly testing in the Finale Hurdle but that won’t be a problem for Nassalam and he looks like another juvenile star for the Gary Moore stable, coming hot on the heels of Goshen.
Fury Road (Leopardstown, Monday)
Narrowly beaten when third in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, finishing a place in front of Thyme Hill, this horse makes plenty of ante-post appeal for the Stayers’ Hurdle and takes his next step back to the Festival in the Christmas Hurdle. He faces a stern test against Ronald Pump and Sir du Berlais but I fancy Fury Road to come out on top.
Presenting Percy (Leopardstown, Monday)
Looked to have got his mojo back when pulling six lengths clear of Kemboy, with Monalee more than two lengths further behind, at Thurles last month. He’s been switched to Gordon Elliott and there is hope this dual Festival scorer can be a Gold Cup winner. How he runs in the Savills Chase against last year’s winner Delta Work and rising star Minella Indo will be illuminating.
Peter Scudamore is the horseracing ambassador for Freebets.com — bet with confidence.