Global Citizen at his favourite place

December 22nd, 2018 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News Ian Carnaby's Sports News

Well, whatever else happens this Christmas, Southampton’s 3-2 victory over Arsenal will live long in the memory. It was quite something, seeing my nine-year-old granddaughter standing up and waving cheerio to the visiting fans and I shall miss her if, or indeed when, my son returns to Hong Kong to teach and takes her with him. She has been with us for over four years.

I don’t take anything for granted after one result, though I suspect Southampton have enough about them to stay up, an opinion I wouldn’t have voiced a couple of weeks ago. As for post-Mourinho Manchester United, it may be a long time before a new manager turns them into a major force again. United have sold their soul to the commercial world and you have only to look at the minutes of shareholders’ meetings to know that the dividend is more important than events on the pitch, which are sometimes mentioned only in passing, if at all. You wonder what Sir Alec (as he should properly be called) makes of it, although he has had worries of his own of late.

Racing wise, the days leading up to Christmas are brightened by an excellent Ascot card on Saturday. However, the old Long Walk Hurdle is complicated by the fact that Nicky Henderson saddles not only Call Me Lord but Top Notch. I note that Unowhatimeanharry is second favourite and I’d be tempted to lay him quite heavily, possibly even for a place because he isn’t as good as before and had everything in his favour when winning at Newbury recently.

Paul Nicholls’ Dolos looked like winning at Carlisle last time but was surprisingly caught and beaten on the run-in. He is a short price in the graduation chase for one whose resilience is questionable. I think I’d rather wait for the impossible-looking handicap hurdle at the end and risk a few pounds each-way on stable-companion Mont Des Avaloirs, who was a good third to Global Citizen last time.

Overall, my view of NH racing these days is that if you oppose Nicholls and Henderson in the biggest races you are looking at a self-imposed handicap. I expect Henderson to clean up at Kempton on Boxing Day, where Buveur D’Air and Might Bite will take the world of beating in the Christmas Hurdle and King George respectively. The reason I mention Mont Des Avaloirs is because Global Citizen (a hugely expensive purchase, let no one forget) is very handy on his day and Kempton might have been designed with him in mind. As I write there are only eight in the Christmas Hurdle, so each-way betting is at risk, but I think Global Citizen will give Buveur D’Air most to do and, at this particular track, it may be quite a bit closer than the cognoscenti suppose.

Sometimes I wish I were considered one of the cognoscenti. Still, as far as I can see, most of them seem to live in much the same house, drive much the same car and wear much the same shoes as they did when they started out. It’s a funny old game. Anyway, have a great Christmas and let’s be careful out there. (Hill Street Blues, Sandown, Jimmy Fox and Stan Moore. Long time ago.)