Boxing Day wouldn’t be Boxing Day without the King George VI Chase, and that spectacular jumping extravaganza once again lights up Kempton’s post-Christmas card this year. There are 11 meetings on the 26th December but this is the one that all racing fans will be attuned to, simply due to the big race itself.

It’s not long before children all over the world wake up full of excitement on Christmas morning. For horse racing fans though, Christmas is about much more than one day. The standard of racing at this time of year is sky high and one of the most popular meetings takes place at Ascot this weekend.

Ascot’s most lucrative day of National Hunt racing takes place this Saturday and the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle is one of the stars of the show. There are nine entries for the three mile, one furlong contest and it’s Unowhatimeanharry who leads the field as he looks for back to back victories in this high class affair.

Cheltenham Course clerk Simon Claisse has been in little doubt that this race will take place on Saturday despite the track being covered in 25mm of snow earlier in the week. It would have been a huge shame to have seen this two mile, one furlong race cancelled. The Grade 2 event is one of the major trial races for the Champion Hurdle and there are some top quality hurdlers present for this year’s renewal.

We return to the home of the National Hunt game for the pick of this week’s jumping action. The highlight of an excellent card at Cheltenham on Saturday – at least from a betting perspective – is this 2m5f contest for the handicap chasers. 17 fences lie between this year’s competitors and a share of £120,000 in total prize money, but who will emerge victorious?

The Henry VIII Novices’ Chase typically features a small field and this renewal is no exception with just the five runners declared for the near two mile contest. With Grade 1 status, this race stands as the big supporting player to the Tingle Creek Chase which runs later in the afternoon. Brain Power is set to begin the race as the favourite but he’s far from the only talented name in the mix.

Aintree’s Becher Chase Day is sure to bring in a good crowd to the Merseyside course and the final event on the racecard is the Class 2 Grand Sefton Handicap Chase. With heavy going forecast, the two mile, five furlong race is going to be a rather gruelling one for the 11 horses set to be involved. On top of the testing ground there are 18 stiff fences to clear around the left-handed track.

We have a real Surrey spectacular to look forward to this coming Saturday as Sandown plays host to the 2017 edition of the Tingle Creek Chase. This is a race which has often pointed the way more than any other to ultimate Queen Mother Champion Chase success. There are few more thrilling sites than witnessing the best chasers around tackling the rapid fire Railway Fences at Sandown, and should the big guns all line up on the day, this has the makings of one of the races of the season to date.

This week’s major contest at Aintree sees a high quality field lining up to tackle the most famous fences in the game. Becher’s Brook, The Chair, Valentines and more all feature in this year’s Becher Handicap Chase. Always a thrilling winter spectacle, who will come out on top in 2017?

The Grade 1 racing action continues into Sunday this coming weekend with a glut of high class equine talent on display at Fairyhouse. The big guns are beginning to come out in force now and this 2m4f contests sees two of the stars from the powerful operations of Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott locking horns in what could prove to be a thriller.