‘Arise’ punters and see ‘King’ rule ‘Sedge!’

Not So Sleepy and Epatante dead-heated in the ‘Fighting Fifth’ at Newcastle last month and renew rivalry on the same weight terms around Kempton Park today when Nico de Boinville replaces Aidan Coleman on the latter, owned by JP McManus; do we attach significance to this jockey change given first prize is more than £74000?

Honestly I don’t know but Aidan has ridden Epatante the last three times and said, after the dramatic dead-heat verdict, he ‘might have gone too soon!’

I’m not buying into that, given it was a bad weather day with storms and snow making race-riding extremely difficult, and am sympathetic to Coleman if indeed Nico is preferred; there is no reason whatsoever for it to be the case, none better than AC!

Plenty of serious punters will have noted those comments but Not So Sleepy was gameness personified and is my confident each-way ‘thieving’ selection to grab one of two places; it promises to be a wonderful day despite lack of runners, quality is always preferable to quantity. Should be fascinating watching how de Boinville and JJ Burke play their trump cards in the eagerly-awaited grade one Christmas Hurdle over two miles of a superb ‘good to soft’ surface.

Eight meetings are down for decision, on yet another overwhelming Boxing Day but I’ve scrutinised them fastidiously and come up with Bolintlea, a progressive, consistent ‘bumper’ which also looks a cast-iron place proposition in the concluding NH Flat Race on ‘soft’ Sedgefield, a real ‘favourite’ North-eastern venue.

Bolintlea shaped well last time and, most importantly, is strongly-fancied by trainer Dr Richard Newland.

Earlier what beats stable-companion King Arise in the seven-runner Maiden Hurdle over an extended two miles will win and now let me thank you all for supporting this column in 2021 and wish everyone a happy new year.

Don’t worry, I’ll be back, rarin’ to go!

Selections, Sedgefield, 1.25 King Arise (e.w); 3.22 Bolintlea (e.w); Kempton, 2.30 Not So Sleepy (e.w).

 Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019