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Wednesday's expert tips - De Boinville and Harrington discuss their chances with Unibet

Jonathan Vine 26 Dec 2018
Nico de Boinville celebrates after he rides Might Bite to win The King George at Kempton.

Unibet ambassadors, Nico de Boinville and Jessica Harrington discuss their chances of finding winners at Kempton, Leopardstown and Limerick on Wednesday 26th December.

Today marks a huge day on the National Hunt racing calendar, with a whole host of fantastic meetings being staged across Britain and Ireland. Using their blogs with bookmakers Unibet, Nicky Henderson's stable jockey, Nico De Boinville and Gold Cup winner trainer, Jessica Harrington talk about their chances of finding some Boxing Day winners.

Nico de Boinville

12.50pm - Mister Fisher (9/2 Unibet)
Whatever race you look at on this card – I should say 32Red and Unibet-sponsored card, obviously… – it just oozes class. Luckily, I have a full and decent set of rides, kicking off with Mister Fisher in this novices’ hurdle. I am probably going to be saying this a lot but you can give a winning chance to every horse in here. But we like our fellow a lot. He won his bumper here last March before disappointing at Aintree, and he just got inched out on his hurdling debut at Newbury. I know that form has not really worked out but that was a very encouraging run all the same and the fact that he just got beaten there at least means he doesn’t carry a 5lb penalty. It’s a tough race, though.

1.20pm - Lough Derg Spirit (9/2 Unibet)
He was a decent hurdler on his day, sixth in the Betfair Hurdle and the Martin Pipe, and he got the job done on his chasing debut at Wetherby back in October. He wasn’t foot-perfect there but you are entitled to the odd mistake first time up, and his recent schooling and work has been good. He also has had a wind op since Wetherby, so hopefully that will help as well, and I think a mark of 136 is fair. He has won around here, too, so I expect a good show in what is admittedly a very competitive handicap. There is more to come, and the guv’nor likes him.

1.55pm - Santini (6/4 Unibet)
This is another belter of a race. All of these have a lot to recommend them, but hopefully Santini is towards the top of the pile. He was a leading staying novice hurdler last season, winning his Grade 1 at Aintree, and he was very good on his chasing debut at Newbury, warming well to his task as the race developed. The form of that race has been franked with the runner-up bolting up in a Grade 2 at Doncaster, so we have to be very hopeful. But the likes of Bags Groove and The Worlds End, to name just two of his six rivals, make this one red-hot contest. You could run a blinder and finish third or fourth here.

2.30pm - Verdana Blue (7/1 Unibet)
Obviously Buveur D’Air is by far the most likely winner of this race, and he looked back to his very best at Newcastle.  But if he underperforms – and his record admittedly doesn’t give you much hope of that happening! – then I would like to think that Verdana Blue could be the beneficiary. I thought she was superb when winning for me over course and distance in October and she has run three great races since, even taking in a Listed race here on the Flat last time and finishing second. She was also pretty unlucky when fourth in the Greatwood Hurdle, and she is one class act when getting her ground, which she looks like doing here.

3.05pm - Might Bite (7/2 Unibet)
Everyone saw how disappointing he was in the Betfair Chase, and I don’t think anyone is hiding away from the fact that he has something to prove now.  But I can tell you that we have been very satisfied with him since, and he was his usual exuberant self when I schooled him last Thursday.  I was never entirely happy with him at Haydock but, other than that, I don’t know what to say. Horses are allowed an off-day, and everything this horse has done over fences suggests that you write him off at your peril. Yes, it’s a better renewal than last year – it really is some race, and plenty will, rightly, be fancying their chances – but if our horse is in the same form as he was at Cheltenham and Aintree last season then they had better watch out. It’s one hell of a race though, and I don’t think anyone will be too bullish.

3.40pm - Colonial Dreams (8/1 Unibet)
He bounced back really well from a nasty fall at Sandown last season, winning twice, and finishing a good second at Ludlow in May afterwards. I wouldn’t say that he had an obvious chance here - and he may be better over fences down the line - but conditions should suit and a mark of 131 is probably okay on what he has done so far. And he has run well in a bumper around here, so there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful.

Jessica Harrington poses at Curragh.

Jessica Harrington


1:10 G2 Juvenile Hurdle
Got Trumped (Brian Hayes) (12/1 Unibet)
He beat a good field in a 3-y-o Hurdle in Punchestown last time and has had a bit of a break since then. This is a very good race and apparantly Coko Beach comes with quite a reputation so it could almost be the Triumph Hurdle itself, but I think me fellow has improved a lot since his last run and any drop of rain will help him. He’s only had two runs over hurdles and is still very green but we like him a lot and expect him to put up a big show.

1:45 Novices’ Hurdle
The Holy One (Sean O’Keeffe) (12/1 Unibet)
We’re taking 7lbs off and putting cheek pieces on for the first time which will hopefully help his chance here. Things haven’t gone his way recently and he shouldn’t still be a Maiden but this is more his class and I think he will run a good race.

3:30 Bumper
Exit Poll (Finny Maguire) (10/1 Unibet)
He hasn’t run since Galway in July when he was second and any rain that falls will help him. He’s a very big horse so will get better with time but I’m very happy with him and I expect him to go well, although this looks a good Bumper so you can never be over confident.


12:50 Hurdle
Not Many Left (Robbie Power) (5/2 Unibet)
He had an aborted trip to Carlisle where I was hoping to run in the Pertemps Qualifier so this is his first race of the season and it looks a good place to start off in. He’s been in good form at home and should run a nice race.

1:25 Maiden Hurdle
Polished Steel (Robbie Power) (6/4 Unibet)
He ran very well in Navan the other day and this race is for horses that haven’t been placed first, second or third so hopefully he’s in his right place to go and win. I think the step up in trip will also help and he should go very close.

2:00 G1 Novices’ Chase
Jetz (Robbie Power) (13/2 Unibet)
He ran well, albeit a bit free, in the Drinmore last time when he was third and I’m hoping that he’ll be a little bit more settled this time. There are plenty of decent horses in the race and Getabird was impressive in Punchestown the last day and could be hard to beat but our horse is in grand form and deserves to take his chance.

2:35 Mares’ Handicap Hurdle
Rovetta (Robbie Power) (9/2 Unibet)
She ran on Saturday but the ground was a bit too quick for her and she lost her action coming down the hill so we’re running her again on softer ground which will help and I hope she’ll run a good race.


12:00 Beginners Chase
Wings Like Arion (Paddy Kennedy) (25/1 Unibet)
It’s a Beginners’ Chase for horses that are not rated over 116 over hurdles so this looks a good starting point for her. She won a couple of hurdles last season and had a run around Punchestown the other day, which she needed badly, and the ground was probably a bit quick for her too. Her schooling has been great and she has a good chance because she gets a Mares’ 7lbs allowance and I don’t think there are any superstars in this race.

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Wednesday's expert tips - De Boinville and Harrington discuss their chances with Unibet

Unibet ambassadors, Nico de Boinville and Jessica Harrington discuss their chances of finding winners at Kempton, Leopardstown and Limerick on Wednesday 26th December.

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