The top-quality action keeps on coming over the festive period with great racing from both sides of the Irish Sea.

Nick Luck has run his eye over a host of races from the next few days.

Welsh National

SPRINGFIELD FOX looks a highly likely winner of this year’s Welsh National (2.50pm) at 7/1. A lightly raced horse, but a largely assured jumper who travels sweetly at the head of affairs, he will not mind how deep the ground becomes. His career defining performance came at this track when thrashing Sizing Cusimano, since when it appears as though he has been targeted at this race, as evidenced by a warmup spin over hurdles here, which confirmed his well-being without doing any damage to his attractive looking handicap mark.

THE TWO AMIGOS, runner up behind today’s favourite Secret Reprieve in the trial race for this three weeks ago, represents better value to run another huge race at 9/1. He comes into this race in slightly better form than when an excellent fifth in this last year, races off a similar mark, has a weight pull with the favourite, and has loads of experience in these big field handicaps. He is only a small horse, and I prefer him against better opposition with less weight on his back. He’s has a big chance if ridden a little less forcefully.

LORD DU MESNIL is another candidate for the placings, having run any number of terrific races in the mud last winter off comparable marks. His two runs this season have been in a novice hurdle and over a trip too short over the Aintree fences, none of which is really his bag. His stable is much respected, he gets on very well with Paul O’Brien, and looks bound to run well at 14/1.

  1. Springfield Fox
  2. The Two Amigos
  3. Lord Du Mesnil

Kempton

ELUSIVE BELLE might be one for forecast backers i in Kempton’s Wayward Lad (1.20pm) against stablemate Shishkin. Clearly the favourite is freakishly good, but I fancy the mare to beat the rest and take advantage should Shishkin be below par at 9/2. She is all about speed and the faster they go, the better her chance. With Gumball and Tamaroc Du Mathan in the field, this should pretty remorseless and her quicksilver jumping can see her go well.

DUC DES GENIEVRES ran one of his better races here last year for Willie Mullins and I think he surprised a few people when nearly winning the Schloer Chase at Cheltenham. He’ll need to have taken a big step forward to be troubling a peak-form Altior, but – as with the Wayward Lad – he’s the suggestion at 4/1 if the favourite is not at his best in the Desert Orchid (2.30pm).

Leopardstown 28th December

A PLUS TARD is my pick at 15/2 for the Savills Chase at Leopardstown on Monday (2.25pm). I am hoping he can then make up into the Gold Cup winner of 2021, so – if you’re on my wavelength – you might want to have a small bet at big odds for that race while you’re at it. What characterises this horse is economy of effort both in the way he travels and jumps. I’m sure he doesn’t want the ground too deep, hence Leopardstown should really suit as well. This should all combine to help him get the trip.

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