Five To Follow Over Christmas!

By Keith Donoghue
 |  4 mins
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Five To Follow Over Christmas!

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Happy Christmas! Its a great time of year in racing. The mood around every yard is always great as people look forward to Christmas, and more importantly the racing after it!

I'm delighted to have a good book of rides at Limerick and am really looking forward to getting going now! With a few busy days ahead I thought it made sense to offer up 5 to follow over Christmas.

Limerick At Christmas

I head to Limerick over the first two days of Christmas Racing and I'm delighted with my chances. On the 26th I have a few good rides and I'm actually really looking forward to riding Pencilfulloflead in the Grade One where I think we might give Asterion Forlonge something to think about.

On the 27th I return to Limerick and I'm particularly excited about my two rides there on that day. I had the option of riding a few more at Leopardstown, but I chose Limerick as I really think Farouk D'alene and Forrard Away have massive chances.

Firstly, Farouk Dalene's work has been really good since he didn't exactly set the world on fire last time and I think that might be behind him now. I think he's my best chance of a winner of the whole Christmas period.

I ride Forrard Away for Jim Dreaper and I think he should go very close. I rang Jim after his last run and just said to him that I couldn't believe we were beaten. It was a really messy race and some speedier types just got by us. We think he'll go well on the ground and I'm really excited about his chances in this handicap at Limerick.

I'm really looking forward to Ronald Pump as I think he could go very close and has every right to be in the reckoning for this. Sire Du Berlais and Fury Road are very good, but so is Ronald Pump and I'm confident of a huge run,

Coeur Sublime is a horse I love, but he has to bring his homework to the track. He works as well as any horse I've ever seen and if he ever did have a proper going day he would trouble any horse in training. He ran really well last time and will come on a lot for that, but he has to actually go and do it. If he does, we'll go close, but he is a hard horse to gauge as he always works the house down!

Christmas Five To Follow

Pencilfulloflead (2.35 Limerick, 26/12)

Asterion Forlonge will be very popular obviously, but I think we could give him a few things to think about with Pencilfulloflead.

This is a horse we always have thought really highly of and he's finally realising his potential now over fences. He started off really well with a win at Galway over Coko Beach and he won takingly at Punchestown last time. That's really good form as well as he saw off Latest Exhibition, who is a very smart horse, and even Court Maid in fourth has backed it up since. He will love the ground, has more experience now than the favourite has over the larger obstacles and I think we could cause a bit of a shock.

Top Bandit (3.25 Leopardsown, 26/12)

Top Bandit will run in the bumper on St Stephen's day at Leopardstown and I think he'll go very well. He was very green last time at Sligo, but he has improved a lot since.

His work has been excellent and I think he has a bright future ahead. This is going to be a good bumper, as it always is, but I think he's good enough!

Indigo Breeze (12.05 Leopardstown, 28/12)

Indigo Breeze is a talented horse who will have learned plenty from just about being beaten at Fairyhouse last time and could take a good bit of stopping at Leopardstown.

He might have just bumped into a good there from Joseph O'Brien's in Keskonrisk and that is definitely smart form to my eye. His work has sharpened up well since and he should be right there in this race. I like Indigo Breeze a lot.

Larquebuse (12.30 Limerick, 29/12)

I've rode Larquebuse on both her starts so far over fences and she ran well both times. The conditions at Limerick on the 29th should suit her perfectly.

She is back in here against her own sex and the ground is going to be a huge help to her. You can't have the ground soft enough for her and she'll definitely get heavy ground at Limerick anyway! She's a smart mare and should enjoy this contest a lot.

Ronald Pump (1.50 Leopardstown, 29/12)

Readers of this column will know how big a fan of this horse I am, and I'm really looking forward to seeing him over Christmas.

Ronald Pump has just been a horse who has continued to improve every season. In April 2019 I won on him off a mark of 136 in a handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse - the improvement has been astounding really. Last season he went from finishing 2nd in a Pertemps trial to finishing a brilliant 2nd in the Stayers Hurdle. On his two runs this term he has really given me a great feel and it looks like he is still actually improving.

Keith Donoghue is one of the top National Hunt jockeys in the world, famed for his partnership with Tiger Roll winning two Cross Country Chases at the Cheltenham Festival. Keith also boasts a Grade 1 winner over fences, and is a great writer to boot. Keith covered the day to day of being a jockey in his weekly blog exclusive to Bookmakers.

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