Paul ja­cobs

Naps king Paul Ja­cobs makes his ante-post se­lec­tions for the King Ge­orge and the Coral Welsh Na­tional

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Naps king gives his view on King Ge­orge and Welsh Na­tional

As we move into the heart of the Na­tional Hunt sea­son there are sev­eral ques­tion marks over the big guns (Al­tior, Dou­van, Thistle­crack, and of the younger bri­gade, Our Duke) and also a chang­ing of the guard with the likes of Coney­gree, Cue Card and oth­ers on the wane.

Of course the big race of the month is the King Ge­orgeVI Chase on Box­ing Day and the mar­ket is mak­ing this a two-way go be­tween the enig­matic Might Bite and Thistle­crack.

Not since Kauto Star have I seen a more im­pres­sive win­ner of the race than Colin Tiz­zard’s then novice Thistle­crack last year, but his in­jury at the back end of the sea­son does cast a doubt over his re­turn.

At his best I think there would be lit­tle be­tween the pair, but fine mar­gins are there to be ex­ca­vated and MIGHT BITE is with­out doubt the right favourite hav­ing put in a sub­lime round of fenc­ing at Sandown Park on his sea­sonal de­but.

That should have taken the fresh­ness out of him and the only pos­si­ble neg­a­tive would be the ad­vent of soft ground which rarely vis­its the Sun­bury-on-Thames track dur­ing the fes­tive pe­riod.So grab the 5/2 about the new kid on the stay­ing block and the 8/1 about Nicky Hen­der­son’s star for the Chel­tenham fea­ture in March as well.

The Coral Welsh Na­tional has al­ways been a favourite punt­ing race of mine ever since a run of no fewer than seven, seven-year-olds farmed the race in the early 80s from Narvik at the start of the decade through the likes of Bur­rough Hill Lad, Right­hand Man and that old war horse Bo­nanza Boy.

Cour­tesy of his comeback suc­cess at Chep­stow, Rock The Kas­bah has been made favourite in plenty of lists and he must have solid claims, but the value fur­ther down the bet­ting has to be the old boy FIRE­BIRD FLYER (33/1) and the less ex­posed ROBINS­FIRTH (20/1).

The for­mer had a lovely warm up for this test­ing marathon, a race he has been sec­ond and eighth in 2015 and‘16 re­spec- tively,when third to the pro­gres­sive Prime Ven­ture at Ffos Las over hur­dles.

Robins­firth has only had the four starts over fences,but the fur­ther he has gone the bet­ter he has looked.

Out­paced at the top of the hill and hand­i­capped by some less than flu­ent jump­ing, the eight-year-old stayed on strongly up the hill and it is worth not­ing that the son of Fle­mensfirth is ar­guably more at home on a much softer sur­face and should have loads more to come over this ex­tended trip.

The Becher Chase on De­cem­ber 9 is also worth touch­ing upon as it’s race that many pun­ters and pun­dits alike feel is a good guide to the big race in April, but that is rarely the case.

It’s a fact that so many horses stay around three and a quar­ter miles,but four and a quar­ter even on good ground is be­yond most stay­ers.

But this shorter trip is a dif­fer­ent ket­tle of fish and I have al­ready in­vested on MALA BEACH at 20/1.

The Gor­don El­liot charge is only one from nine in his chas­ing ca­reer to date, but has raced be­yond three miles only on three oc­ca­sions,find­ing the 3m 5f too far in the Ir­ish Na­tional, but this in­ter­me­di­atte trip with a bit of give in the ground would be per­fect.

He is by and large a safe jumper and I know that his han­dler feels that off a mark of 149 he is still very well treated. Sta­ble mate Ucello Conti would be a vi­able back-up.

Might Bite

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