Horse racing in December: what’s on?

Don’t allow the Christmas turkey to distract you from your sports betting! In particular, here at Profit Accumulator, we simply have to draw attention to the many high-profile horse racing fixtures that continue throughout the last month of the year.

Whether or not you decide to place a matched bet or two on them, here are some of the events that you just can’t miss in-between all of your present buying and festive parties.

Tingle Creek Chase

This Grade 1 National Hunt chase takes place each winter at Sandown Park, a course where the horse after which the event is named – Tingle Creek – enjoyed particular success during the 1970s.

Such horses as Flagship Uberalles – the 1999, 2000 and 2001 winner – and jockeys including five-time victor Richard Dunwoody have made history in the Tingle Creek. For this year’s 3rd December running, it’s Douvan currently heading the favourites list at 4/7 with Paddy Power.

Becher Chase

Held on the same day as the Tinkle Creek Chase is the Betfred-sponsored Becher Chase. This Grade 3 race takes place over three miles and two furlongs, or 5,230 metres, and is run over the same fences as the fabled Grand National, for which it is considered an early-season trial.

One of the obstacles jumped is the fearsome Becher’s Brook, which has been described as like “jumping off the edge of the world” by some jockeys. It is named after Captain Martin Becher, who fell there from his mount – Conrad – in the first official Grand National in 1839.

Ucello Conti is the current favourite for outright glory this time around, priced as short as 8/1 at the likes of bet365, Coral and Stan James. For better value, look to the likes of Alvarado, Viconte Du Noyer and The Last Samurai.

Grand Sefton Handicap Chase

One of the races held later on 3rd December at Aintree will be the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase, a race that has an especially rich history, having initially been run for a century from 1865 to 1965. It was revived in 2003, and has since seen triumphs for such jockeys as Paddy Brennan, Tom Scudamore and last year’s winner, Liam Treadwell on Bennys Mist.

Indeed, it is the 10-year-old bay gelding that is most strongly tipped for victory this year, attracting odds of 13/2 from both bet365 and Betfair. Contenders further down the list such as La Vaticane, Seefood and Seventh Sky are more potentially lucrative possibilities.

Caspian Caviar Gold Cup

Fast-forward to 1:50pm on 10th December, and this handicap Grade 3 chase awaits, for which Aloomomo widely tops the betting at odds ranging from 8/1 to 10/1.

It’s an event that has been known by a variety of names down the years, including the Massey Ferguson Gold Cup, after its original sponsor in the 1960s, and the Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup, in memory of the former Foreign Secretary who was a keen racing enthusiast and died in 2005.

Since 2014, the event has been officially known as the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, but is widely referred to as the December Gold Cup in the racing media.

Hong Kong Cup

There isn’t exactly a huge range of flat racing events for sports betting enthusiasts to look forward to in December, but one is most definitely the Hong Kong Cup, which as its name suggests, takes place in Hong Kong – specifically Sha Tin Racecourse.

The Group 1 race can be entered by thoroughbreds aged three years or older and is run over a distance of 2,000 metres, or about one and a quarter miles. It has been held since 1988, and is now a truly international event, despite having been initially restricted to horses trained in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.

While the betting markets currently most strongly fancy Maurice for the outright win in the Sunday 11th December event, there are various other intriguing contenders, such as last year’s winner A Shin Hikari, who has been given temptingly long odds of 8/1 at Coral.

King George VI Chase

Looking back to the British National Hunt chase calendar, it’s impossible to ignore the King George VI Chase, which is no less than England’s second most prestigious chase after the Cheltenham Gold Cup. It takes place this year on 26th December at Kempton Park.

The event’s first running was in 1937 in honour of the new British monarch, King George VI, and it has made legends of many horses, not least five-time winner Kauto Star. One of the racehorses of the moment, Cue Card, tasted victory in last year’s event, so it should shock no one that the specialist steeplechaser is at the top of the list of favourites this time around.

The 13/8 quoted at Ladbrokes are the most alluring odds for the 10-year-old bay gelding, but it’s probably not worth discounting 2013 and 2014 winner Silviniaco Conti, certainly not given the quoted odds as long as 50/1 at the likes of Sportingbet and 32Red.

Christmas Hurdle

Also scheduled for the Boxing Day King George VI Chase meeting is this Grade 1 hurdle race, which covers about two miles or 3,219 metres, and requires eight hurdles to be jumped. It is the second leg of the Triple Crown of Hurdling that also includes the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle and the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, so of course, how could you not have a cheeky bet on the action?

Faugheen, jockey Ruby Walsh and trainer Willie Mullins have emerged victorious in the two most recent runnings of the race, and sure enough, Paddy Power has him on for a hat-trick at 8/11. However, the likes of Yanworth, at 7/1, and Irving, at 12/1, are also tempting prospects.

Welsh Grand National

If you want a ‘form guide’ for such later and higher-profile events as the Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup, you can’t do better than the Welsh Grand National. After all, the 27th December Grade 3 steeplechase has produced such victors as Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised and Aintree Grand National winners Bindaree and Silver Birch.

The race is run over three miles and five and a half furlongs, or 5,934 metres, at Chepstow, although it was held at other venues prior to 1949, including – initially – Cardiff’s Ely Racecourse and then briefly Caerleon after World War II. It has also taken place at various times of year, such as Easter Tuesday, then February at the end of the 1960s and late December from 1979.

The chase has continued to capture imaginations and create new legends – and with the likes of Minella Rocco, Caroles Destrier and Native River topping the favourites list this year, there’s a lot of money to be made from a successful flutter in 2016, too.

So, now you know what's going on - how about some betting?

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