30 DECEMBER 1972, Page 22

Juliette 'S Weekly Frolic

Racecourses, like churahes, open their doors to an army of non-believers at Christmas time. An excess of drink, food and families on December 25 and your average telly-bound Briton yearns for the great outdoors and a bucketful of bracing Boxing Day air to cleanse the system — even if one sharp dose sees the patient scurrying towards the medicinal comfort of the bar. Fresh air apart, London is always full of optimists out to recoup the cost of Christmas, and the approach to Kempton Park is normally the most frustrating corner of England around noon on the 26th. This year, strangely enough, while the crowd packed inside its gates appeared as large as ever, the journey was comparatively jamfree, though with the first two favourites, respectively nosediving at the third fence and refusing to race altogether, many might have preferred a spot of congestion on the Staines by-pass. Still, Canasta Lad, Pendil and Killiney did their stuff in magnificent style to the delight of both punter and connoisseur and while my finances suffered accordin0y, it was far too nice a day to carp at these minor setbacks. After all with that leading light of horses-to-follow, Canasta Lad, winning at a scintillating 7 to 4 on, who am I to complain? . Christmas plays havoc with the regular publication of such things as four-day declarations, and although those for the coming Friday were out before the holiday, at the time of Writing Saturday's have yet to put in an appearance — So if I succeed in selecting a runner it will be quite some thing. Main feature of the Old Year' meeting at Newbury, apart from Friday night's jockeys' dance on the racecourse, will be the next-day's Mandarin's Chase over the ' Hennessey ' distance. Last year's winners of both these races, Royal Toss and Bighorn, are due to clash with this year's ' brandy ' principals, Charlie Potheen and Roman Holiday. Royal Toss the only winning favourite last time, turned in a highly respectable getting fit effort in Ascot's Long Walk Hurdle a couple of weeks ago, while Charlie Potheen just can't lose down Berkshire way. Although Roman Holiday was eight lengths behind in the 'Hennessy' his rider, Jeff King, had some harsh words for the winner at the time and whatever the truth of the matter, Roman Holiday has 6Ib in hand and missed a golden winning opportunity at Kempton for the bigger spoils here. Friday, as I have mentioned, presents a much easier task in predicting runners, if not winners, though a 7Ib advantage could enable Vulgan Town to deal with Sonny Somers in the Hungerford 'Chase and Tingle Creek to outrun Jabeg in the Old Year 'Chase. The latter pair, both came unstuck in soft going at Ascot before Christmas and with the prospect of a dry weekend ahead should turn in a dazzling display for the benefit of all those lucky enough still to be on holiday.

Assets: £8150. Outlay £3 to win Roman Holiday, Tingle Creek and Vulgan Town. Five to follow: £13.12.