Racing: Punters feed grist to Mill

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The Independent Online
WHEN A horse is owned by the company behind a tipping service it is a fair bet that subscribers to that line are going to be among its most enthusiastic supporters. Yesterday, just 24 hours after betting opened on Boxing Day's King George VI Chase, Teeton Mill, owned by the Winning Line tipping service, was the subject of a plunge for the big race.

Available at 9-2 before betting opened yesterday, Teeton Mill is now generally a 3-1 chance, although Stanley Racing still offer 7-2. There is a good chance that those odds will be taken and that Teeton Mill will usurp See More Business at the head of the market at some stage during a week in which there is little live racing to keep punters amused.

Caution though should be exercised. A similar gamble on Teeton Mill took place before his emphatic success in last month's Hennessy Gold Cup, but he drifted out to 5-1 on the day as on-course bookmakers without ante- post liabilities were prepared to accept bets on him and the soft-ground performer Seven Towers came in for misplaced support.

In other words, do not rush down to your High Street shop this morning with your Christmas club money, but contemplate your selection over a turkey sandwich on Boxing Day when the important factor of the going can be included.

The grey's trainer, Venetia Williams, said yesterday: "Teeton Mill is fine and ready for Kempton and, within reason, won't mind what the ground is.

"He was impressive at Newbury, but I don't know if he's improving because he won on the bridle at Wincanton [on his previous outing] and was equally impressive that day."

Imperial Call has been given the go-ahead for the Kempton race in an attempt to end Ireland's long lean spell in the pounds 100,000 prize. The last Irish-trained horse to lift the race was Captain Christy, the winner in 1974 and 1975.

Raymond Hurley, trainer of the 1996 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, said that the nine-year-old will fly over from Cork on Christmas Eve.

"The going at Kempton is soft, I understand," Hurley said. "And this suits us. I would only change my mind if, for some reason, the ground dried out but this is unlikely."

Not so unlikely, perhaps, as yesterday the official bulletin from Kempton was that the ground was good to soft, good in places. With some fierce winds blasting South East England, there is every chance that the track could dry out further, which would make Leopardstown's Ericsson Chase a week today an enticing alternative. Hurley still hopes to sign up either Richard Dunwoody or Tony McCoy for the ride.

Super Tactics, who has won five times at the course including a fine victory in last season's Racing Post Chase, is reported to be in fine form for the stiffest task of his career so far. Last year's winning jockey with See More Business, Andrew Thornton, takes the ride.

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