It’s Boxing Day and Steven Dowler is determined to make it a very merry Christmas by taking down the Boosted £7,000 Place 6 at Kempton. Check out his Kempton tips and join his Syndicate.
Kempton racing Tips
THIRD TIME LUCKI was left with far too much to do the last day at Cheltenham in a Grade Two, though, still ran very well in defeat to finish second, beaten only three-lengths. This weekend’s forecast better ground will be right up his street and I’m confident Dan Skelton’s charge will resume winning ways. Furthermore, he’s the clear top-rated at 140 and should easily be capable of justifying favouritism being one of the UK’s leading novice hurdlers.
FLIC OU VOYOU will probably be the one to capitalise if the market leader runs below form, though, I can’t see that happening. However, Paul Nicholls six-year-old has done little wrong over hurdles this season and looks set to be thereabouts once more and is selected for cover purposes.
Selections: THIRD TIME LUCKI, FLIC OU VOYOU
An appealing Handicap Chase and I think CHAMPAGNE WELL has an excellent chance of reaching the frame. Formerly a smart hurdler, who was runner-up in three consecutive Grade Two’s, the seven-year-old hasn’t matched those heights over fences to date, but looks very well-handicapped from a mark of 136 and is expected to be in the thick of the action.
Shrewd trainer, Nick Williams, has the exciting GALAHAD QUEST in the race, who makes his chasing debut following a couple of spins in a pair of listed hurdle races. That should have sorted him out fitness-wise and he did well to win a Grade Two event over hurdles given his size and scope to improve for a set of fences. An opening mark of 134 might have underestimated him here.
Whilst Alan King’s WILLIAM H BONNEY shaped encouragingly on chasing debut at Newbury, where he was pitched into the deep end but jumped and travelled powerfully which then led to him keeping on strongly to not be beaten that far. The handicapper has surprisingly dropped him 1Ib as a result, so he has to be respected with more to come.
Selections: CHAMPAGNE WELL, GALAHAD QUEST, WILLIAM H BONNEY
13.50 – Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase – 3m
An exceptional renewal of this Grade One prize and Dan Skelton’s SHAN BLUE will be all the rage following two impressive victories over fences the last twice. He has jumped impeccably on both occasions and looks sure to take some stopping in his hat-trick bid.
However, the one who has value written all over him is the Harry Fry-trained, IF THE CAP FITS, who looks to have been laid out for the race. Given his official rating of 160, he is rated 8Ib clear of Shan Blue at 152 and 12Ib clear of The Big Breakaway. The eight-year-old is also the only Grade-One winner in the field and, with this flat-track likely to aid his cause, he has an excellent chance here.
Selections: SHAN BLUE, IF THE CAP FITS
14.25 – Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle – 2m
Nicky Henderson’s EPATANTE was victorious in this race twelve months ago en route to claiming the Champion Hurdle in March. She produced a devastating performance to win the Fighting Fifth on her return to action and looks set to collect this prize for a second consecutive year.
Her main danger appears to be the ultra-consistent, SILVER STREAK, who placed in the 2019 Champion Hurdle and was runner-up to Epatante in this race a year ago. He looked as good as ever when winning over course-and-distance on his return and was unlucky not to land International Hurdle last time.
Selections: EPATANTE, SILVER STREAK
15.00 – Ladbrokes King George VI Chase – 3m
CYRNAME was a shade underwhelming when comfortably beaten by CLAN DES OBEAUX in this race last year, but I’m convinced his Ascot success over the mighty Altior in a gruelling battle was the main factor behind his tame finishing effort. The eight-year-old has had a much polished preparation this time around and proved his stamina and well-being over three-miles when strolling home in the Charlie Hall Chase.
It’s significant to note that Harry Cobden has chosen to ride him again rather than side with last year’s winner, so the highest-rated chaser in Britain is handed the speculative vote to atone for last year’s defeat. He can gain his revenge in the feature race on Boxing Day at the main expense of stablemate, Clan Des Obeaux, as there are doubts surrounding the remainder.
Selections: CYRNAME, CLAN DES OBEAUX
15.35 – Ladbrokes Committed To Safer Gambling Handicap Hurdle – 2m5f
A competitive Handicap Hurdle to complete an exceptional card with one of my votes in favour of the Ben Pauling-trained WHATSUPWITHYOU, who is improving at a rate of knots and looked on good terms with himself when second at Cheltenham last time. A 5Ib rise demands more, but he holds solid each-way claims.
SWITCH HITTER struck at the second time of asking when beating a subsequent winner over course-and-distance. His opening handicap mark of 127 looks tolerable, so he has to go on anybody’s shortlist here with Bryony Frost booked to ride.
Nicky Henderson’s BARBADOS BLUE hasn’t been seen for a long time, but an opening mark of 119 might have underestimated her. She bolted up over course-and-distance when last seen and needs consideration in the finale.
Selections: WHATSUPWITHYOU, SWITCH HITTER, BARBADOS BLUE
You’ve read my Kempton tips now join my Syndicate.