I hope you all loved King George day on ITV and the team are back on Thursday to do it all again with eight races from Kempton and the Welsh Grand National card at Chepstow.
Chepstown starts earlier (below) but we’ll start at Kempton, where the opener is the Grade 2 novices’ chase over 2m at 1.20pm. Boring choice, but KALASHNIKOV, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle runner-up, has looked an absolute natural over fences and could be a horse to tackle Champion Chase hero Altior in the future.
On what we have seen he will take all the beating for Amy Murphy. If there’s one slight negative it’s that he has only raced right handed once before and got beat at Sandown.
Next up at Kempton there’s a extended 3m handicap hurdle at 1.55pm. I’ll take a chance with CULTURE DE SIVOLA, who is a confirmed stayer at this distance. She was outclassed last time but this is much easier for the Nick Williams runner.
Back in Graded company at 2.30pm with the Desert Orchid Chase over 2m. Not much to say here. ALTIOR is clearly in a different league and while of course something can go wrong that’s the same for the rest. Not a betting race. Just enjoy the Nicky Henderson champion.
And finally at Kempton a handicap chase over 3m at 3.05pm. JUST A STING is in great form for Harry Fry and can get the hat-trick up. A winner off 125 at Uttoxeter and then 131 at Exeter, my hope must go off 137 now but is improving fast.
Meanwhile over at Chepstow the action on ITV starts at 1.05pm with a handicap chase over an extended 2m 3f. Hard to know what LE ROCHER’s form is worth at Auteuil, but he’s been running well and he’s not badly handicapped on form with Beggar’s Wishes. Conditions are ideal for the Nick Williams charge.
Next is the Finale Juvenile Hurdle over 2m at 1.35pm. QUEL DESTIN just keeps winning for former champion Paul Nicholls and has an excellent attitude. He only scraped home at Doncaster last time but won more easily that the winning distance suggested. His experience is a bonus.
There’s a handicap hurdle over nearly 3m at 2.10pm. Every chance of another for Nicholls here, with TRUCKERS LODGE having every chance of following up a win at the track last time. He’s gone up 13lb but has every chance of scoring.
And finally at Chepstow for many the big betting race of the day, the Welsh Grand National, over nearly 3m 6f at 2.50pm. FOLSOM BLUE is an old boy who stays all day and he’s got every chance of hitting the frame for Gordon Elliott. He reminds be a little bit of former winner Raz de Maree who also goes again. Have a few quid each-way on the Irish raider ridden by the excellent Jamie Codd.
Over in Ireland, the Paddy Power Chase at 3.00pm is on Attheraces and once again Paddy has set up a tricky task in the extended 3m event.
I’m going to have a few quid each-way on the Paul Nolan-trained FITZHENRY, who caught the eye stepped up in distance last time. He has the pace to travel well and seemingly now has the stamina to see out the distance.
So bets of luck and pray for festive Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?!