Hello and welcome to tonight's Q&A. Hopefully we'll have a few winners for you. It seems there are a lot of questions for Dave, so I'm in for an easy ride!
He clearly needs to improve again, but a horse who gets into a rhythm from the front can often get others at it. Had Smad Place been a second-season chaser he would be shorter than he is and I think he is just about the only value left in the market. It will be tough though as it's a very good race.
It’s funny, I was at Willie Mullins’ press day last week and he seemed to suggest that he did not want Ruby to make the running on Vautour. I’d imagine Silviniaco Conti will want to make it into a proper test so it might be foolish for Wayne to go all out attack on Smad Place. I’d imagine he will sit second or third. I don’t think he is good enough no matter what way he is ridden.
I really like the chances of A Sizing Network in the 2.20 at Leopardstown. He's making his handicap debut off 125 and I think he is better than that. He's a natural jumper and could get his own way out in front. The 9-2 Paddy Power are offering seems fair enough to me. Over at Limerick, I fancy Free Expression to reverse form with Outlander in the Grade 2 at 2.10.
There's a really competitive card at Wincanton and I'm sure we will see the best of Venetia Williams' in the Lord Stalbridge Memorial Cup (1.05). Also very interested in Alzammaar in the following race.
Don Cossack has won at 3m1f at Punchestown and he was hardly stopping then. I'd have no doubts about him. Vautour is more of an unknown, but I think he'll stay. On what he's done though, particularly going right-handed as he has never impressed in any race that way round, he is far too short.
Don Cossack won on yielding/soft at Down Royal last time and I doubt it is going to be much softer than that at Kempton. Gordon Elliott thinks he is probably best in the spring on nice ground but I don't think either Don Cossack or Vautour will have any excuses on the ground front.
You shouldn't lay him because if he brings the same performance as last season's JLT with him to Kempton then he wins. It is as simple as that. The big question is whether he will bring that performance? I think he can because the King George has been the plan since last March. I don't think he will jump as markedly to the left as he did at Ascot either.
Come on Dave, that JLT performance is some way away from what's required in this field.
I can certainly see him going well. He's with a trainer with some record with young horses in Nationals. Personally like the chances of Mountainous who won in 2013, is better handicpped now and seems to be in better nick than he was last season. Shotgun Paddy is a big threat, too if getting into a rhythm.
Although Paul is talking utter s***e about Vautour, I think he is probably right about Shotgun Paddy. I backed him last year and he ran a shocker but I might back him again because I loved his run at Cheltenham last time. He looked back to his old self there.
I would stick it on Sizing Gold in the Paddy Power at Leopardstown on Sunday. He's off 135 and I think he is a better horse than that. By all accounts this has been the plan since the autumn and his return at Punchestown was really encouraging. I think he will go off about 13-2 or shorter to be honest so take the 12s now!
If I've got £20 left after Christmas I probably won't have after the new year! And if that's all I've got I'll need something at a big price.
Here's one at a big price. Swnymor in the last at Kempton at 40-1. He's a talented horse, who wasn't far behind Quick Jack on the Flat in Ireland last year and didn't run without promise last time. I find the booking of in-form Harry Skelton quite interesting.
Love the horse and still believe he'll win the Gold Cup in 2017. I won't give up hope until it's apparent he's not good enough. You certainly can't fault the way he has jumped in two starts this season and he'll surely only get better at 3m.
I don't know how you could call any horse 'a cert' to beat More Of That. No More Heroes has been brilliant so far but he wasn't in the same parish as More Of That over hurdles and I'd prefer to back him at 6s than No More Heroes at 5s.
If it was down to typing it would be me hands down. On foot? Have you seen me lately? I once had a big-money race with a fellow lump in the office, it was video-taped too, although I hope the evidence has long since been lost. My in-running comment was "fell start".
It's funny. Paul would probably beat me in a running race as, bizarrely, I am quicker going backwards [hiking] but I would fancy my chances of downing a pint quicker than the big man as I am quite adept at guzzling down a pint of Stella! Are you on for that Keals? 50 quid?
Not many who could beat me over a pint of the black stuff son!
He is becoming remarkably well handicapped, but you'd have to worry if the ground became very testing as that's not how he likes it. A few more pounds off, though, and he could become very interesting back in the festival handicap he won a couple of years ago, assuming connections bite the bullet and realise he won't be winning the big one.
I don't know what to make of Holywell. He is about as predictable as Louis Van Gaal! I think Dolatulo might win it again. He seems to love Wetherby and I don't think Saturday's race is any stronger than last year's. I certainly would not be backing Holywell, that's for sure!
I certainly can't think of anything that is absolute maximum bet material, but the prices are only just starting to come out for many of the races at the smaller tracks. I do think Astigos at 6-1 at Wincanton is very fair.
I see the prices are in for most of the races on St Stephen's Day [Boxing Day] and Sirabad at 9-2 in the 1.25 at Kempton looks big to me. I think he is well treated off 131. As I said already, I am convinced Sizing Gold will go off much shorter than the 12-1 currently available in the Paddy Power on Sunday.
He has been really good this season and giving 7lb and untimately a comfortable beating to Un Temps Pour Tout was a fine effort. He's the one to beat given Tea For Two has not proved himself at 3m yet. I think he'll stay and his form right-handed (1111121) is impeccable. It looks a good match-up, but I just prefer Native River.
Well he won't be done by No More Heroes this time anyway! Native River is short enough if you ask me and I will probably back As De Mee at 14-1 as I think he is crying out for 3m and he is a fluent jumper.
Maybe A Genie In Abottle in the bumper at Leopardstown on Sunday. He was quite impressive in a Bartlemy point in May and is apparently working well!
I've actually backed Old Guard a few times for the Champion each-way as there will almost certainly be a smaller field, but I'd rather he wasn't running on Saturday. Four races in a couple of months is enough and I'd prefer to wait, but it's not Nicholls' style to leave a big pot begging when there's a small field and you can't blame him for going for it. We'll have to see about Faugheen, but it's not promising the way he hung on his return. I expect him to win and on the book he ought to do so with plenty in hand, but he's certainly not for me at 1-6.
I can't wait to back Hargam without Faugheen. I think he will reverse the International form with Old Guard and I like The New One about as much as parsnips, and I HATE parsnips. Hargam improved from his return and I think he can improve again. He's not a bad horse and I think Kempton will be right up his street, especially if the rain stays away.
I can see where you're coming from but he has lived up to the hype so far! He is breathtaking to watch and even watching him in his work at Closutton last week was pretty special as he led both Faugheen and Vautour. He loves to get on with things and I love watching him get on with things. Would he beat the real Sprinter Sacre on good to soft ground in the Queen Mother next March? No!
An unbeaten - at least when completing horse - is always likely to be hyped up and in fairness to Un De Sceaux he has always delivered. The Arkle he won was not a good race, though, and neither was the race he won at Punchestown after. I think he has to step up to win a Champion Chase and that he's a silly price to do so. Wouldn't surprise me if he did, though.