Just the five races that ITV are throwing our way today but it starts a run of six days out of the following seven that Ed and the gang are coming live into our living rooms. Four races today from Kempton with the feature race the King George VI Chase and the valuable handicap chase the Rowland Meyrick from Wetherby joining the quartet from Kempton. The grounds going to ride soft at both tracks so here are my ITV Racing tips on them.
ITV Racing Tips For Boxing Day
Five go to post for the re-arranged Ladbrokes Long Walk Hurdle, a grade one contest run over 3m 121 yards. There was very little between the winner Champ and the runner-up Paisley Park at Newbury in November in the Long Distance Hurdle with just a neck separating them. I’m not entirely sure a speed track like this suits Champ and at the prices, it may pay to take Emma Lavelle’s Paisley Park to turn the tables. Both are turning eleven next week mind and we have a brace of youngsters ready to have a go at the pair.
Miranda is a seven-year-old mare who showed she stays well when beating her two rivals easily over course and distance last month and will relish the soft ground. It’s just a case with her of whether she’s good enough. The six-year-old Goshen and Not So Sleepy are stepping up in trip and have stamina to prove. I’ll take Paisley Park to reverse Newbury form with Champ.
PAISLEY PARK 1 point win @7/2 Betfred
A small but select field of five go to post for this three-mile grade one contest the Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase. A warm favourite, and quite rightly so, is Paul Nicholl’s McFabulous who looked very good when winning over this trip at Newbury at the Coral Gold Cup meeting. He had two of today’s rivals behind him that day in Thyme Hill (beaten 6 1/2L) and Mortlach (8 1/2L) and I would be surprised if either were able to reverse the form even with the former wearing first-time cheek pieces.
Nicholls’ second string (ridden by Bryony Frost) is Gelino Bello who in winning two novice chases this season has only beaten three opponents. The biggest danger to McFabulous is Dan Skelton’s mare Galia Des Liteaux who looked good when a very easy winner at Bangor-On-Dee in November. She looks a bit overpriced at the moment and should go off as second favourite but it’s winners we’re looking for and McFabulous will be hard to beat.
McFABULOUS 2 points win @ 5/4 BetVictor
Twelve staying handicap chasers line up for a decent renewal of the William Hill Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase run over three miles of the Yorkshire track. Shan Blue could be very well handicapped if his fall over course and distance in last season’s Charlie Hall Chase can be taken at face value but the same was said when a well-beaten second on a handicap at Aintree in the Spring off of the same mark. He could blow these away but in a competitive race at around the 9/4 mark is opposable to me.
Chantry House is an interesting runner who unseated on his seasonal re-appearance at Aintree and has claims for Nicky Henderson and owner JP McManus whilst easy Newbury winner Zanza shouldn’t be totally dismissed although he may be better at the Berkshire track and has been raised 10lb.
My fancy is bottom weight Into Overdrive who ran into one of the best chasers in the UK in L’Homme Presse last time out in the Rehearsal Handicap Chase at Newcastle. There was certainly no disgrace in Mark Walford’s seven-year-old going down by a length despite receiving 26lb and although he’s been upped 4lb for that run can run well off of bottom weight.
If you like him then surely it’s worth a small each-way saver on Windsor Avenue who was only 5 1/4L behind Into Overdrive that day and is now 5lb better off. Brian Ellison’s ten-year-old has a bit of a patchy record over the last year but won the Skybet Handicap Chase last January off of a handicap mark of a pound higher than todays and at five times the price of Into Overdrive is worth a small stakes saver.
INTO OVERDRIVE 1 points each way @ 11/2 Betfred 1/5th 1234
WINDSOR AVENUE 1/2 point each way @ 25/1 Betfred 1/5th 1234
Only five go to post for the Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle run over two miles and I’m afraid it’s a no-bet race with Nicky Henderson’s freakishly good hurdler Constitution Hill likely to be very hard to beat. Unbeaten in all four starts over hurdles he really does look the real deal and dispatched his field in no uncertain manner on his re-appearance in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle coming home 12L ahead of his female stable companion Epatante. She may finish second again here in a race she’s won on two of the last three years. The Favourite is officially rated 17lb and upwards better than these and let’s hope he puts yet another exhibition round of jumping in and wins with his head in his chest. He’s impossible to oppose.
An excellent renewal of the King George VI Chase. Run over three miles the race has been won by some smart sorts over the years with champion trainer Paul Nicholls winning it a dozen times. He saddles three here with stable jockey Harry Cobden picking Bravemansgame ahead of Hitman who has stamina to prove stepping up in trip.
Bravemansgame impresses with his slick jumping and having won the Kauto Star Novice Chase over course and distance at last years meeting may be the one to be with although this is his sternest task to date. L’Homme Presse will love the recent rain and is a big danger. Venetia Williams’ seven-year-old is officially rated 6lb superior to Bravemansgame and if handling this sharp track can run well.
The Irish are represented by Henry De Bromhead’s Envoi Allen who bounced back to winning form at Down Royal in November and is another with a decent shout. A tough call but it’s the Nicholls’s Bravemansgame to give his trainer yet another winner in this famous race for me.
BRAVEMANSGAME 2 points win @ 9/4 Betfred