22-12-2016 Christmas Hurdle Boxing Day Racing News
Published: 3rd January 2017
By AM FREE Racing Tips
The festive season is a time for surprises but there will never have been a bigger one if 5,000-1 chance Gray Wolf River wins the 32Red.com Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day.
But owner-trainer Richard Harper knows she will be guaranteed a slice of the £100,000 prize money on offer if she puts in a clear round.
Harper took the plunge after the race initially attracted only five entries and was reopened.
It cost him £800 to enter but sixth place alone in the Christmas Hurdle is worth £1,340.
Gray Wolf River has yet to come close to winning a race in 13 races under Rules and boasts an official rating of just 63.
Some would say that flatters the five-year-old mare, too, after a heavy defeat in a humble contest at Plumpton last time.
She has won £525 in prize money, scooping almost half of that when trailing home last of four in a mares’ maiden hurdle at Huntingdon in March.
Yet on Monday, Dolly, as she is known at home, is set to face five of the best hurdlers in training in one of the highlights of the Christmas racing programme.
Vroum Vroum Mag, The New One, My Tent Or Yours, Yanworth and Ch’Tibello stand between her and a first prize of almost £57,000.
A decision on where Vroum Vroum Mag runs will be made after the horse has worked this morning.
Willie Mullins must rely on his crack mare if he is to win the 32Red Christmas Hurdle for a third successive year.
A bruised foot meant his planned return in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown last month had to be shelved, although he does hold an engagement in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown next week.
Vroum Vroum Mag – who lost her unbeaten record for Mullins in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse last time out – also has options at Leopardstown over the Christmas period.
Mullins and owner Rich Ricci have dominated the Grade One contest in recent seasons with Faugheen, but he has not been seen since winning the Irish Champion Hurdle in January, after which he suffered an injury and missed the defence of his Champion Hurdle crown at Cheltenham in March.
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