Horse racing: Wake yourself up to a dream Dawn at Ascot

A White Christmas in Leeds is 11-10 with William Hills and it must be odds-on for the forecast snow to cause its usual havoc with this weekend's racing.

Newcastle and Haydock offer the nearest action as far as we're concerned but the feature card is at Ascot where Aegean Dawn will take the world of beating in the Ladbroke Hurdle (2.35pm).

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Aegean Dawn is arguably the buzz-horse of the season, the one that everybody is talking about and the one that has caused quite a stir already.

The first stir came when landing a monumental gamble at Cheltenham back in November, the horse winning with ridiculous ease and maintaining his unbeaten record.

Then he was out again within seven days – before the handicapper could get him – Aegean Dawn was described as a "penalty kick without a goalkeeper" at Ascot next time and duly delivered by slamming Mille Chief by a cosy four-and-a-half lengths. Mille Chief re-opposes tomorrow and is now significantly better off at the weights but in short Aegean Dawn looks a Grade One horse messing around in handicaps and he is very likely to go in again.

The esteem this horse is held in is no secret, trainer Nicky Henderson describing him as "lovely" and David Bass, the winning jockey last time, describing him as "special".

True, the five-year-old is seen as basically a three-mile chaser of the future and there is every chance he could be a future Gold Cup winner, but even so he possesses so much speed he can take in decent handicap hurdles on his way up the ladder.

There are some very smart animals in opposition tomorrow with the Paul Nicholls-trained Toubab greatly feared and worth a saver as he bolted up last time.

His trainer thinks he could be good enough for the Supreme Novices Hurdle and he looks a big price at around the 10-1 mark.

Tocca Ferro is another massively improving sort but Aegean Dawn still looks on a nice weight here off 11st 2lb and he looks a superb bet at around the 5-1 mark.

Sadly, the odds about tomorrow's genuine good thing will not be nearly so generous with every person on this planet knowing that Big Bucks is streets ahead of his rivals in the three-mile hurdle division and therefore a banker in the Long Walk Hurdle (2pm).

We'll be lucky to get even 1-3 but he will win barring accidents and is one for the big odds-on hitters.

However, as there's every chance of Newbury being off we'd better dig out some all-weather punts and Western Aristocrat (12.20pm) and Kiss A Prince (2.30pm) are fancied to hit the bullseye at Lingfield.

Western Aristocrat looks a short priced shoe-in for Jeremy Noseda and jockey George Baker as he hacked up on his debut looking very much a horse with a future.

There looks to be nothing else with any pretensions to being decent here and Noseda's two-year-old is strongly fancied to make it two out of two.

Kiss A Prince, meanwhile, will far and away be the better price of the duo but he looked to have a fair bit in hand when winning over course and distance 11 days ago and, again, this does not look the strongest contest.

Finally, don't forget to vote for Tony McCoy in Sunday night's BBC Sports Personality of the Year contest.

It was a good point well made by At The Races ace Matt Chapman this week that it's no good us moaning how AP was beaten by G-Mac or whatever come Monday morning if we couldn't be bothered to pick up the phone and vote!

So, let's all chip in together and if we slip a few quid on him at evens to win the thing it will more than cover the cost of the call.

Best of luck with whatever you back and have a great weekend.

Jack Walker. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

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