CHRISTMAS YANKEE: Shamrock’s Christmas Box is empty, so he tries a yankee at Downpatrick today, previewing the card race by race and finding a couple of each-way bets in the process.

12.05 Downpatrick Felix Yonger would be the first since Black Apalachi (2004) to carry a penalty to victory in this, but favourites are seven out of eight and his success seems to be a formality on form.

It’s 9.4 bar one on Betdaq as I write, and the Place market reveals that a place bet (three chances remember) on any other runner will yield more than a win bet on the favourite.

In that respect, the good thing of the race turns out to be Beef To The Heels, 9.0 as I write getting 8lb from the odds-on favourite and fourth to the very smart Boston Bob last time out.

12.35 Downpatrick Tawaagg has three years on Psycho but is 6lb inferior in the ratings and they meet at levels. Since they are 16lb clear of anything else in the race, it’s 20-1 bar the two.

This time a place bet on anything else seems to lack value because you’re running for one spot, third place. So you pays your money and you takes your choice. I’ll take youth: Tawaagg.

1.05 Downpatrick Vital though they are for the young jocks, I rarely get financially involved in these Opportunity races, though I note for your benefit that they’ve come for the veteran Selection Box early doors and elbowed Celtic Carol.

1.35 Downpatrick Call Box looks a handicap snip but there are two ‘ifs’: if he can translate chase form to hurdles; if he has the pace for this big drop back in trip.

Whitehead Lad ran well enough over CD in October to suggest he’s better value at a shade under 4-1 to beat the favourite in what is deemed by the market as nearly another two-horse race.

2.05 Downpatrick This one’s wide open, according to the betting. Mae’s Choice is favourite but, like According To Mo, Dangan Daylight, Duty Dance, Saddlenomore and Shershewill, brings only Point-winning form to this hurdle.

Once again, you takes your choice. And, if you are one of those who likes to watch a well-bred sort from day one, keep an eye on Melanjo.

I’m intrigued that Colm Murphy has taken over Dangan Daylight; I like Old Vics, and her 3.7 is worth a first position. I’ll probably save on Mae’s Choice before any panic sets in.

2.40 Downpatrick Bold Present for my Christmas Box? I thought so, but this fair decent hurdler has gone out like a light on this second run over fences: forecast 8-1, trading 14.0, as I write.

I like to back a Colin Bowe runner in this part of the Irish world and 9.8 for Representing is good value, if she can repeat her chasing debut; there’s quite a bit to forgive since then.

So I’ll need a saver on Lockdown. No sort of a price but very promising at Cork. I’ll put the short shots in Daq Multiples and hope for the best.

NAP: Tawaagg (12.35 Downpatrick)
WIN BET: Dangan Daylight (2.05 Downpatrick), saver Mae’s Choice.
EACH WAY: Beef To The Heels (12.05 Downpatrick), Representing (2.40 Downpatrick)
DAQ YANKEE: Felix Yonger (12.05 Downpatrick), Tawaagg (12.35 Downpatrick), Whitehead Lad (1.35 Downpatrick), Lockdown (2.40 Downpatrick)

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