6 great races you don’t want to miss at the Christmas festivals on Saturday

Have you got the winners picked yet? Novices’ Chase (Kempton, 1.10pm)

Horse Racing - Exeter God's Own. Source: David Davies

A handful of Arkle contenders have a chance to prove their credentials, none more so than God’s Own who will want to show that he’s better than his distant seventh in the Tingle Creek. The rain won’t help his case but Vibrato Valtat has a Grade 1 win on heavy, and Melodic Rendezvous and Grandouet are capable of big runs.

Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase (Leopardstown, 1.20pm)

Horse Racing - The Open - Day Three - Cheltenham Racecourse Uxizandre won at Cheltenham last month. Source: Nigel French

The first Grade One of the day at Leopardstown is a cracking renewal of the Paddy Power with the top two in the market, Uxizandre and Ballycasey, likely to be aimed at the Queen Mother next March. Hidden Cyclone has fallen twice since his superb Ryanair second to Dynaste while the legendary Sizing Europe, who turns 13 next week, and Bright New Dawn will never be short of supporters. Desert Orchid Chase (Kempton, 1.40pm)

Horse Racing - The Crabbie's Grand National 2014 - Grand National Day - Aintree Racecourse Balder Success Source: EMPICS Sport

Alan King’s Balder Succes was one of the top fancies for the Queen Mother before a mistake in the Tingle Creek cost him any chance of scoring. He finished fourth that day, three lengths off third-placed Hinterland, and those two will head up the market for the Desert Orchid Chase. Henry de Bromhead sends over Special Tiara as the sole Irish contender.

Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle (Leopardstown, 1.50pm)

Nicholas Canyon ridden by Paul Townend clears the last to win Nichols Canyon Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Novice hurdling can often be a tricky business but Nichols Canyon looked a class apart when he won the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse last month in the Wylie colours. Ruby Walsh is back from Kempton and takes the ride; a win would see the 12/1 available for the Supreme Novices disappear pretty quickly. Gigginstown’s Sub Lieutenant and Tony Martin’s Golantilla, highly-touted during his bumper days, both look to be the biggest threats.

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Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle (Chepstow, 1.55pm)

Horse Racing - The bet365 Hennessy Festival - Day Two - Newbury Racecourse Karezak Source: Andrew Matthews

An impressive performance here will put the winner right into the mix for the Triumph so keep an eye on the three likely to head the market — Golden Doyen, Karezak and Old Guard. All three seem to handle the softening ground and there has been little to choose between them to date.

Coral Welsh Grand National (Chepstow, 2.35pm)

Horse Racing - Coral Welsh Grand National - Chepstow Racecourse Mountainous, right, won last year's Welsh National. Source: David Davies

Only a neck separated Midnight Prayer and Shotgun Paddy in the Terry Biddlecombe Chase at Cheltenham last year and they meet again with a £57,000 first prize on the line. Monbeg Dude and Mountainous won the last two runnings of this race and go again, so there’s no shortage of choice in the 20-runner field.

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Niall Kelly

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