So that was Christmas

Kauto Star post King George by Emma-louise Kerwin

Rewind to Boxing Day 1990 where a fourteen year old me sits on the edge on the sofa, knuckles white from gripping the sides willing my hero Desert Orchid to win his fourth King George. Fast forward to Boxing Day 2011 a considerably older me is in the same position willing Kauto Star to win his fifth King George! As the Kempton Grandstand went into Orbit as Kauto crossed the line so did I! Ala,s where there are extreme highs there are extreme lows and the tragic death of Golden Silver in Ireland the next day affected us all. I know I am not alone in not being able to replay that race.

Twenty five years after the aforementioned flying grey first jumped his way into Kempton folklore, the almost white Grand Crus galloped his rivals into submission in the Feltham. It’s understandable that connections want to bring the blue riband of steeplechasing into the picture but personally I hope they stick to the RSA route. (I think he should go for the Gold Cup – JP)

Hidden Cyclone fired a warning shot to an already high class looking ante-post field for the RSA with his victory in a beginners chase at Leopardstown. What’s even more impressive is that he wasn’t 100% fit. A run at Fairyhouse is next on the agenda, then hopefully after that Cheltenham beckons. I have been a fan of this horse since I saw him at Leopardstown last January and it’s no secret that his trainer ‘Shark’ Hanlon feels he could be a future Gold Cup prospect.

I love it when horses prove me wrong as it keeps me on my toes! I am a late convert to the school of Finians Rainbow but the way he battled back to take the Desert Orchid Chase after a bone crunching error at the ninth totally won me over and is the sign of a serious horse. With this in mind plus his obvious ability to handle Cheltenham, I have to now rate him as a danger to Sizing Europe and Big Zeb in the Queen Mother.

Another horse that surprised me was Sprinter Sacre who was nothing short of spectacular in the Wayward Lad Chase. I really did sit up and take notice when Barry Geraghty said he was possibly the best he has sat on; sme accolade from the partner of Moscow Flyer. Sprinter Sacre deserves his place at the head of the Arkle market but call me stupid (and many will!) I will still be siding with Peddlers Cross come 13 March 13. (With you on that – JP). A fast two miles at Kempton would not have played to his strengths. To win an Arkle you have to be able to stay slightly longer than a bare two miles, have a bit of speed and most importantly be able to eat the Cheltenham hill for breakfast. All of these apply to Peddlers Cross; I hope connections still take the Arkle route with him.

Another three that impressed over the yuletide were Voler La Vedette, Unaccompanied and Tetlami. Fingers crossed that Voler La Vedette will make the journey to Cheltenham to take on Quevega in the David Nicholson; she was third to the Willie Mullins star mare in 2010 but is a much improved horse now. Unaccompanied continues to frank the form of an above average Triumph Hurdle; you have to say she has a live chance in the Champion Hurdle. The way Tetlami is progressing I can see him running a big race in the Supreme Novices Hurdle and next stop for him is the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown.

If I had the time I could write all day long about the fantastic racing we were treated to this Christmas. We are now only eleven weeks away from the greatest show on turf! Judging by the way the first half of the season has flown by, the next thing you will know the tapes will be up for the Supreme Novices. Bring it on!
I wish you all a very peaceful and happy New Year and want to take this opportunity to thank you all for every follow, for every #ff and thanks for reading. It is very much appreciated.