Merry Christmas everyone and I hope all your wishes have come true at this festive time. Of course for racing fans Christmas comes on Boxing Day with the King George VI Chase at Kempton live on the main ITV network.
We start with the 13.20 a novices’ limited handicap over an extended 2m 4f. I like the look of HOLD THE NOTE as an each-way bet here. Trained by Mick Channon, the mount of Tom Scudamore looked like a horse who can do better after a third-place finish at Ludlow last time. I think he will improve a bundle for that run.
Next up at Kempton is the 13.55, is the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase over 3m. I’ll go with the man who trained Kauto Star to win here so many times, champion trainer Paul Nicholls.
He saddles the promising DANNY WHIZZBANG ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies. I like the fact this horse is stamina laden, and 3m will hold no fears. He just keeps on winning, and while this is his toughest test I’m hoping he will be too good for the likes of Slate House and Black Op.
There’s another Grade 1 at 14.30 with the Christmas Hurdle over 2m. Tricky contest. VERDANA BLUE caused an upset when taking this from Buveur d’Air last year and she might well take some stopping again. This track suits the Nicky Henderson runner, and while stablemate Fusil Raffles is sure to be a big danger, I’m hopeful my selection will hit the frame at the very least.
The ground would not want to be bottomless for her though.
And finally at Kempton, the 15.05pm is the Grade 1 feature race of the day, the King George VI Chase over 3m. I have long backed CLAN DES OBEAUX each-way for this, but of course with the small field now declared most will only have a win wager.
Sam Twiston-Davies rides the defending champion, and I think he has every chance of riding his first King George winner. Clan des Obeaux jumps and stays and is still a young horse open to improvement. His run at Down Royal first time was decent and he’ll have improved tons for it.
Great chance at good odds.
Meanwhile, ITV also show the Grade 3 Rowland Meyrick over an extended 3m at Wetherby at 14.10.
The one to back each-way here is BENNYS KING, who I thought was hugely impressive at Newbury last time. He’s up in trip for trainer Dan Skelton, but should give Bridget Andrews a terrific spin.
Jumps for fun.
So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?
Prices and entries correct a time of publishing