Boxing Day is obviously all about the King George – a race with magical history, and I’m hoping that Clan Des Obeaux can make more history by joining Wayward Lad, Desert Orchid and Kauto Star as a three-time or more winners of the great race. Clan Des Obeaux was advised at 11/2 way back in April on these pages, along with a lovely looking each-way bet on Real Steel at 40/1 – I see no reason to suggest any other plays on the race now, and happy to let these two run for us.
When a horse runs in the same novices’ chase for more than one season in a row, it is generally not a great sign, as it means they have not managed to notch up a victory over fences yet.
But since Hold The Note ran in the Play Ladbrokes 5-A-Side Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase last Boxing Day, (when he was travelling sweetly, before being brought to an abrupt halt by a falling rival in front of him,) he has run in two Grade 2’s, been placed at the Cheltenham Festival, and been beaten over a trip that stretches him in races won by Shan Blue (favourite for Kauto Star Novices’ Chase) and Happygolucky (much underrated high-quality chaser.)
Back Hold The Note in the Play Ladbrokes 5-A-Side On Football Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase on Saturday with Sky Bet!
VISIT SKY BET
It is either a feat of genius race-planning from Mick Channon and his team to get Hold The Note back to the race at 1.15 on Boxing Day on the exact ceiling mark of 140 for this race, or it is complete chance. Either way, he is an outstanding each-way bet at 12/1 with Skybet to banish the memory of that moment of sheer tough luck last year.
Fresh from not having a hard race then, he went on to run a mighty race in the Grade 2 Hampton Novices’ Chase at Warwick, when just being outstayed by Two For Gold. All of which teed him up nicely for a tilt at the now-defunct Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, in which he was only beaten by Imperial Aura (now favourite for 2021 Ryanair Chase) and Galvin (now favourite for 2021 National Hunt Chase). He battled on gamely to hold on for third place, suggesting that his resolution to stick his neck out when necessary is intact.
Hold The Note has had three runs this term, all in above average novice chases, and chased home some very able rivals, as previously stated. Each has been over 3m on ground lively enough for him, and on the basis of his form a front-running ride over about 2m4f on slow ground is exactly what could produce his long-searched-for victory over fences.
It is entirely possible that the layers have looked at his record of running well to be placed regularly, and not afforded him the respect necessary by the actual substance of his form. This being a novices’ handicap chase, there are plenty of rivals here who could only dream of what Hold The Note has already achieved.
Alnadam, Mr One More and Falco Blitz are the three that I see as having the potential to improve up to somewhere near the level that Hold The Note has shown – most notably Alnadam, who was an impressive winner of a good race at Sandown last time.
However, I strongly recommend taking the 12/1 each-way about Hold The Note for Kempton’s 1.15 on Saturday, and hopefully watch Tom Scudamore (who got a tune out of him last year and at Cheltenham last time), give them all something to catch around a track that very much favours prominent racers.