Stan Hey: 6-5 Against

Click to follow
The Independent Online

At this time of the year punters usually find themselves in a classic dilemma. One choice is "to keep the powder dry" in the knowledge of all the big events coming up on Boxing Day and beyond. The other is to try and win the Christmas expenses this weekend. The risk, if you lose, is a late switch from turkey to chicken nuggets.

The last time I bagged the "Xmas-exes" was nine years ago, when Tresor De Mai (10-1) and Anzum (4-1) were part of a successful £5 win patent. Since then, nothing. In these straitened times only a fool would lash out, but there is some fantastic sport this weekend.

Take Ascot today. The transfer of the Boylesports International Hurdle, lost to Cheltenham's flood, creates a "golden hour" with three prestigious hurdle races. I fancy Nicky Henderson's Chomba Womba (5-1 generally) in the Boylesports. In the Long Walk, try One Gulp (12-1). The big money has come for Belcantista (25-1 to 7-1) in the Ladbroke but I'm sticking with Numide (7-1), whose stable is in belting form. A small-stakes patent (seven bets) on these three might bring home the chipolatas.

Tomorrow, I must back Pittsburgh (£10 win, 4-5 Skybet) as they go to AFC leaders Tennessee. The Steelers have had the toughest schedule since Napoleon retreated from Russia in winter but their defence is a thing of beauty and they are now only one win behind the Titans. If I survive until Boxing Day, I might flirt with Exotic Dancer (£5 win at 20-1 generally) finally to beat his nemesis, Kauto Star.

*We backed the right sport for the BBC Personality but picked the wrong cyclist. As it was rubber dinghies at Cheltenham we broke even. Happy Christmas!