Horse Racing tips: Matt Chapman’s Boxing Day ITV Racing best bets

Matt fancies Minella Indo in the King George VI Chase at Kempton.

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13:20 Kempton – Danny Kirwan

Merry Christmas! ITV Boxing Day gets under way here with a Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase over an extended 2m4f. This is wide open. DANNY KIRWAN is a great big beast who has always promised much and he might outstay a few of these.

Having a second run after a wind operation here, Danny Kirwan ran well last time for the champion Paul Nicholls and could go from the front for Harry Cobden. Hard to keep out of the first three.

13:55 Kempton – Bravemansgame

Now a Grade 1 Novice Chase in the Kauto Star over 3m. This is a cracker despite a small field. Ahoy Senor was very good at Newbury but I’m not sure what that form is worth and so it’s easy for me to stick with former Grade 1 hurdler BRAVEMANSGAME for champion Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden.

My hope has done nothing wrong in two chase starts and has jumped like a natural. He’s not often gone this far but in a small field stamina should not be an issue.

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14:10 Wetherby – Good Boy Bobby (E/W)

ITV also show one race from Wetherby in this Grade 3 Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase over 3m. This is tricky. GOOD BOY BOBBY is creeping up the handicap ranks but he ran an absolute belter at Newcastle last time and he might defy a 5lb rise as he did win when rated 146 as a hurdler.

He’s been progressing nicely over fences for Nigel Twiston-Davies and stamina clearly won’t be an issue even though I wondered if he was a true stayer in his younger days. Should give Sam Twiston-Davies a good spin and worth a few quid each way. 

14:30 Kempton – Epatante

Another Grade 1 here in the Christmas Hurdle over 2m. Nothing between Epatante and Not so Sleepy on ratings here with the former getting 7lb but there’s no doubt in my mind EPATANTE is the one to beat for Nico de Boinville and Nicky Henderson. A former winner of this race and Champion Hurdle heroine, Epatante dead-heated with Not so Sleepy at Newcastle last time but is by far the better horse at a peak in my book and she should come on for that run.

15:05 Kempton – MINELLA INDO

This is the big one, the Grade 1 King George over 3m. Clan des Obeaux did this column a favour in both his King George victories, and he’s fresh this time having possibly not been suited by going to Haydock before his defeat by Frodon twelve months ago. He’s sure to spot on for champion trainer Paul Nicholls.

However, this is much tougher than when he landed his victories and he’ll have to be better than ever. Talking of the defending champion, Frodon, he was magnificent on his return at Down Royal where he had the Gold Cup winner Minella Indo back in third.

It’s not impossible Frodon can do it again for Nicholls bidding for a record thirteenth success in the big race. However, I can’t help but feel MINELLA INDO is the one to beat for Henry de Bromhead and lady-of-the-moment Rachael Blackmore.

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Some say Minella Indo prefers going left-handed, but that’s forgetting a massive Grade 1 success at Punchestown over Allaho. He’s no one-trick pony. At the age of eight he’s also relatively lightly raced with just fourteen races under his belt, so there may well be more to come.

Of the others, Chantry House has D-Day for Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville. The son of Yeats is on a five-timer after wins including the Marsh at Cheltenham and a Grade 1 at Aintree. He could be anything and was once third to Shishkin in a Supreme.

Lostintranslation is also back, having been horrible in this event in 2020. He’s on his second run after a wind operation for Colin Tizzard, and his first was useful with a fine win at Ascot. He’s another that’s could score and wouldn’t do so as a huge surprise.

Asterion Forlonge, who is joined by Tornado Flyer for the champion of Ireland Willie Mullins, is clearly talented but rarely delivers. Huge ride, though, for Bryan Cooper.

So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?

Matt Chapman’s ITV Racing tips:

13:20 Kempton – Danny Kirwan
13:55 Kempton – Bravemansgame
14:10 Wetherby – Good Boy Bobby (E/W)
14:30 Kempton – Epatante
15:05 Kempton – Minella Indo

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