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Special Features

ITV Racing on Boxing Day, at Kempton and Wetherby

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ITV Racing head to Kempton Park for a special Boxing Day Bonanza of National Hunt action, where the 15.05pm Grade 1 32red.com King George VI Chase is the feature contest and one to savour for the 2018 renewal…

Kempton

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13:20 The 32red.com Steeple Chase

Mick Channon’s Glen Forsa is up 9lb following a smart staying performance at Chepstow and heads the market for the ITV Racing opener under Jonathan Burke. The owners of Lough Derg Spirit were bullish on Twitter about their horse’s chances here and he’s been well supported into second favourite. At the prices, David Pipe’s WARTHOG could be worth siding with. The race rather fell apart in behind him at Sandown on his chasing debut, but he couldn’t have looked more comfortable at his fences and Kempton Park should suited the horse well. Warthog is a strapping 6yo grey and could be very good if he keeps progressing.

Bet Warthog @ Unibet

13:55 The 32red Kauto Star Novice’s Steeple Chase (In Memory of Nigel Clarke)

What a race we have in prospect here, where the only conceivable question mark for the warm favourite Santini is whether or not the sharp, right handed Kempton will suit his stamina laden style of racing. He could be a Superstar, but does have stiff opposition. Harry Fry’s yard is flying and Bags Groove could not have been more impressive in his jumping at Huntingdon. He has been the more active horse, has more experience than Santini and is a huge threat to all. The Paul Nicholls trained Topofthegame could well be the answer here, but it will be an attritional three mile examination and he’ll need to see out every inch of it against some very strong stayers, including the mare La Bague Au Roi. This really is an outstanding novice chase in prospect and any one of the top five in the betting could win, but the highest rated performance last time out was from THE WORLDS END and perhaps that fact is not being acknowledged enough within available odds of 6/1 @ Unibet.

14:30 The Unibet Christmas Hurdle Race

Buveur D’Air is a 1/4 jolly @ Unibet to follow up his 2017 success in this race with another in 2018 and it will take something fair special to deny him here. Verdana Blue gets a handy 7lb mares allowance and her recent run at Cheltenham can definitely be upgraded. Her stablemate is the Champion with good reason, but she is an electric mare and a career best here would see her make things interesting. If The Cap Fits needs a big step up to get involved, but is clearly a very interesting prospect given his imposing physique. Global Citzen is well worthy of his place, but this is more of a race to savour. Perhaps venture a Verdana Blue / Buveur D’Air straight forecast…

15:05 The 32Red King George VI Steeple Chase

What a Christmas Cracker we have here, with last year’s King George hero and Gold Cup runner up Might Bite bids to get his season and legacy back on track after a tame effort at Haydock first time out. Bristol De Mai, Thistlecrack, Native River and Clan Des Obeaux all re-oppose from the Betfair Chase and will fancy their own chances of improving their efforts for the Boxing Day showpiece. It is a race full of Grade 1 star quality, with Grade 1 winning Waiting Patiently bringing with him the hope of the North. To become the first Northern trained winner of the King George since One Man would be some feat, as would winning a King George with no prep run, whilst racing over three miles for the first time. POLITOLOGUE might just be the answer, bringing a sound blend of class, recent form and overall profile to suggest he is set to run a huge race. The talented grey is a tremendous jumper that travels very strongly through his races. He’s shown grit and determination to win his last two Grade 1 races over 2m4f and 2m5f, and is bred to get further. There is a good bit of pace on here and Sam Twiston-Davies can afford to tuck him away and let them take each other on a bit up front. With a clean round of jumping, he’ll be right in the mix as they round for home…

Bet Politologue @ Unibet

Wetherby

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14:10 The Racinguk.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Steeple Chase

Sue Smith’s Wakanda has been second in this race the past two years and sets the scene, but he looks handicapped to the hilt at present and needs a career best. LAKE VIEW LAD is as consistent as they come and won the Rehearsal Chase handsomely up in Newcastle the last day. An 8lb rise makes things harder, but he’s an in-form horse who finds plenty for pressure and looks set to run another huge race. Nicky Richards and the talented 7lb claimer Danny McMenamin team up with Takingrisks, who can be the horse to have a saver on. He stays all day and has a nice low weight, so should not be discounted after a fine 2nd at Haydock last time.


Prices above correct at time of publish, see GG Racecards for latest odds!.


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