Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; the stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there…….
I am as is tradition now going up nice and early with the Boxing Day info as it is the season of goodwill and all that, plus there is every likelihood of a hangover on the day!
There is a bucket load of horseracing on Boxing Day as ever, eleven meetings across the UK and Ireland, and most of it I would advise is best left alone or you could find yourself pawning the Christmas presents before you know it! There is of course some top-class action mixed in with the devilishly tricky handicaps and hopefully I have a few winners up my sleeve to pay for the festivities.
I will be hunting round for the best prices on Boxing Day morning, but the planned bets, providing there are no major changes in going etc can be found below.
Best bets for the horseracing at Kempton Park
The rising stars of the Chasing game are on show at 1.20 for the Grade One 3m Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices' Chase. I am a big fan of Hermes Allen and I have to be on him here. I tipped the six-year-old earlier this month when he won the G.2 2m4f John Francome Novices' Chase saying at the time if he takes to the larger obstacles he could be a major player in the Novice Chase division. I wondered if they would stay at two-and-a-half miles with him but trainer Paul Nicholls is convinced he’s a stayer and who am I to argue with him. The master of Manor Farm Stables Ditcheat said a couple of weeks back "I’m going to reroute Hermes Allen to the Kauto Star now rather than go to Ascot (2m3f G.2 Howden Noel Novices' Chase) this week, because I’d love to run him in a Grade One over three miles. We sorted his breathing out in the summer. He had a little setback so went into Newbury a bit short really, but he’s taken a good step forward since then and I’ll be really interested to see him over three miles at Kempton because I think that track will suit him well. He’s got enough boot to win over two and a half, but I’m sure he’ll get three miles. He’s won a point-to-point, he looks a stayer and when you win a Challow Hurdle to me you’re a stayer."
The Grade One two-mile Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle at 1.55 should be little more than a public gallop for Constitution Hill who has upwards of 26lb in hand on the opposition. It is a steering job for Nico de Boinville surely.The dish of the day is at 3.00 the three-mile Grade One Ladbrokes King George VI Chase. There has been plenty of money for Allaho and having won the 3m G.1 Punchestown Gold Cup last back end he has proved he gets the trip. He won the G.2 2m4f Clonmel Oil Chase on seasonal debut without having to break sweat against inferior rivals and has to be feared. He is plenty short enough now though for my liking. Having won the 3m1f G.1 Aintree Bowl Chase last year Shishkin is also a confirmed stayer but we all know what happened last time he went to a racetrack…….If the old sparkle is there on Boxing Day he will be there or thereabouts no doubt but ever since he was pulled-up in the Queen Mother of 2022 he’s not been one you can back with any confidence. Paul Nicholls remains confident Bravemansgame will put up a staunch defence of his crown, the eight-year-old having been a very impressive 14-length winner of the Boxing Day showpiece last season. He has been beaten at odds-on in his first two outings of this season, in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby and the Betfair Chase at Haydock, but Nicholls is convinced he is returning to his peak ahead of what the Ditcheat handler described as a “home game” for his charge. The trainer said this week “Bravemansgame won the race last year and then the season before he won the Kauto Star around Kempton. He loves it there and it is the ultimate track for him. It is almost a home game for him in many ways. Whether the Gold Cup left a mark on him, I don’t know, and it could be that it has just taken a while to get him back. He worked as well as he could work on Saturday, and he looks good. We are looking forward to the King George.” the trainer added “Ultimately his target, and my target, since he came in has been Boxing Day and he is ready for it.”
Happy Christmas, and, as ever, be lucky