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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

I'm particularly sweet on Ballyoptic in Kauto Star Novices' Chase

Ballyoptic: in really good form at home and Exeter form working out well
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Touch Kick 1.20 Kempton
A lightly-raced six-year-old who put up a career-best performance when winning nicely at Sandown last time, he ought to have a decent chance.

He jumped those famous Sandown fences really well and got into a nice rhythm before proving good and strong from the back of the last.

Touch Kick is a progressive horse, and I'm looking forward to getting back on him.

Ballyoptic 1.55 Kempton
I'm particularly sweet on Ballyoptic in the Grade 1 32Red Kauto Star Novices' Chase.

He's in really good form at home and gave all the right signs when winning at Exeter on his first start over fences last month.

That form simply couldn't have worked out any better, with the runner-up Elegant Escape, the third Barney Dwan and the fourth De Dollar Man all successful since.

Ballyoptic beat them easily that day and, while he ran a decent enough race to finish second to Black Corton at Cheltenham 11 days later, I've a feeling the spark was missing as it may have come too soon.

Black Corton is enjoying a fabulous season owing to some great placing and a serious bit of training. He has kept responding, and will run his race again.

Ballyoptic has to give 7lb to Mia's Storm, who is unbeaten in two starts over fences. Alan King's mare looks the one to beat, but we couldn't be happier with our horse.

He has been freshened up and aimed at this race ever since, and it looks a good opportunity for him.

The New One 2.30 Kempton
The New One is back out ten days after he ran another great race to finish second to My Tent Or Yours in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham.

There is considerable prize-money on offer in the Grade 1 Unibet Christmas Hurdle and, while The New One faces a tough task against the champion hurdler Buveur D'Air, he is clear second-best on ratings.

He came out of Cheltenham really well - he is hard as nails and loves his racing - and will run his usual honest race.

It will be incredibly tough to beat Buveur D'Air, who looked really good at Newcastle, but The New One should be able to get plenty of prize-money for his efforts.

Connetable 3.40 Kempton
He ran well at Sandown last time - a track he clearly enjoys - and significant rain would boost his chance.

He has been freshened up and aimed at this race ever since, and it looks a good opportunity for him
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