A feast of racing on Saturday and Sunday, with two days at Kempton, including the Ladbrokes King George. The Coral Welsh Grand National on Sunday and at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival which continues Monday and Tuesday.
Inside today’s main piece you can find my thoughts on the King George VI Chase. Plus, I have two to note for the weekend.
The final decs for the Boxing Day meetings are out. As I feared Monalee can’t travel over for the King George VI Chase, as the travel ban placed on the UK by Ireland is being extended to December 31, meaning no horses will be able to travel between the two countries during the festive period.
There are some interesting races on the Kempton card but I have to say not many appeal from a betting perspective.
Ladbrokes King George VI Chase
Clan Des Obeaux bids for hat trick King George wins and looks likely to go off favourite. A good second in the Betfair Chase on his seasonal reappearance. Provided a tough race at Haydock hasn’t left its mark he’s the one to beat.
Cyrname last year’s beaten favourite, has 21 lengths to find with his stablemate. I don’t think he was right 12 months ago and proved his stamina for 3m when winning the Charlie Hall at Wetherby. He’s been given a 56-day break to freshen him up and I think he win this.
You can’t dismiss the claims of Lostintranslation. He pulled up in this 12 months ago and didn’t enjoy the heavy ground in the Betfair Chase last month. Better ground will suit the 8-year-old and his third placed effort in the Gold Cup is as good a form as there is here.
Santini made an underwhelming seasonal return at Aintree three weeks ago. Trainer Nicky Henderson supplemented him for the race on Monday. Not sure that 3m around here will play to his strengths though.
Saint Calvados has been touted by some shrewd pundits as a each-way contender. He’s been doing most of his racing at 2m but improved when stepped up to 2m 4f on his last two starts of last season, on the final occasion finishing runner-up to Min in the Ryanair. Three miles could be within his stamina range.
Waiting Patiently is another with place claims. The 9-year-old is having his first start since a strong finishing third in last seasons Grade 1 Tingle Creek Chase. That was over 2m but he stays 2m 4f very well and could stay 3m. Was still going well when unseating his rider in this race 2-years ago and softer ground won’t inconvenience.
I think Cyrname will beat stablemate Clan Des Obeaux and for those looking for one each way Waiting Patiently should give you a good run for your money at the 25/1 available with Bet365.
Two for the weekend
Watch out for Ten Ten in Sunday’s ultra-competitive Paddy Power Handicap Chase (2:55). A lightly raced 7-year-old, just the five starts over fences he had a nice prep for this over hurdle’s last months. First start beyond 2m 4f but looks open to improvement, Simon Torrens takes off a handy 5lb and he can go well.
Moonlighter was sent off the 7/4 favourite for a Newbury handicap chase on Ladbroke Trophy Day. Sadly, for those who backed him, me included, he fell at the fifth. An excellent second to Greaneteen in the Haldon Gold Cup on his seasonal reappearance. If none the worse for his Newbury fall. I think he can make amends for last time by winning the 2m 3 ½ f handicap chase (1:05) at Chepstow on Sunday.
If you want my selections for next week, you can get them here.
Here’s wishing everyone a peaceful Christmas. I won’t say merry as I don’t think it’s appropriate this year. For many it will be neither a merry or a happy Christmas.