The National Hunt season for UK and Irish Racing is just getting going for the big jumps stables. Some stellar December racing fixtures often provide the perfect opportunity to run the better winter horses ahead of huge festival targets this coming Spring.
Carefully planned paths to the Cheltenham, Aintree, Punchestown Festivals and all that are in between are becoming clear and all hopes and dreams are alive for the beloved jumps season!
Festival Focus is a brand-new weekly show hosted by Tom Lee on Bookmakers.com TV, known by all racing passionate from Channel 4 Racing, RTE Racing and beyond. The show will focus on the key results of the previous seven days in Racing and discuss market movements for festival targets and whether performances on the track merited the reaction they got. Or did the horse racing bookmakers perhaps overestimate or underestimate the form of those runs with their revised odds for Festival targets?
Tom is joined each week on Festival Focus by David Mullins, a Grand National winning jockey and multiple Grade 1 winner in the saddle who is still heavily involved with the sport. Together they will discuss the horses that most caught the eye over the past week in horse racing and evaluate their potential to figure at the spring festivals this season, or not, depending on the what is still the greatest thing about racing; an opinion!
Of course Cheltenham in March will be a prime focus for all, but some horses aren’t suited to the pressures and nature of those four days at Prestbury Park and with the likes of the Winter Festival and Easter Festivals at Fairyhouse, the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown, the Aintree Festival and of course the curtain fall of Punchestown all to look forward to among other big dates in the calendar, expect Tom and David to have some views that don’t always fit the normal Cheltenham Festival narrative.
Punchestown last week served up some potential pointers for 2023 spring festivals. Intranet and Sandor Clegane received some nice quotes for some of the big novices hurdles. Just a day later, Ballygrifincottage for the Skeltons moved towards the top of the market for the National Hunt Chase. David has some mixed views for on the prospects of these three, but one looks like a really bright prospect.
The short-priced favourite for the Arkle, Jonbon, enhanced his profile at Sandown with a very taking performance. That same day at Fairyhouse, Facile Vega's win had some refer to him as the best racehorse of all time. The Cheltenham Gold Cup odds at horse racing betting sites had a real shake-up after Noble Yeats' win at Aintree, but can he repeat the feat in March at the festival?
The big talking point at horse racing betting apps is the Champions Hurdle price of Honeysuckle. After defeat in the Hattons Grace, she has drifted markedly. What do David and Tom make of her chances now, after her seasonal debut? All of this and the performance of the weekend from a "serious monster", plus more is in Episode 5 of Festival Focus. Check it out below.
The International meeting at Cheltenham takes center stage this Saturday. With plenty of high class handicaps on the racecard too, it's a chance for some Cheltenham contenders to get some course experience ahead of March. Doncaster, Cork and Punchestown also have graded action this weekend, so there'll surely be plenty for Tom and David to discuss next week.
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