Kempton 32Red Winter Festival Boxing Day Betting Tips – Tuesday 26th December 2017

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.

With the current champion hurdler amongst the stars on show in the day’s other races, it’s not all about the big one though. Here we weigh up each of the six contests on offer and provide our betting tips as we bid to head into the New Year on a punting high and with a few extra quid in our pocket!

12:45pm – 32Red Casino Novices’ Hurdle (Class 2) - Two Miles

Claimantakinforgan to win

Nicky Henderson has taken this prize three times in the past six years, and looks to have sound claims once again with his five year old Claimantakinforgan. Having shown solid form when not being beaten far in the Graded bumpers at both the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals last term, he did the job nicely when cruising home on his hurdling debut first time out this season. With the runner up that day having since gone on to score in good style in what looked a decent Maiden contest, the form has a solid look to it, and this son of Great Pretender is fancied to extend his trainer’s impressive record in this race.

1:20pm – Chase (Class 3) – Two Miles Four And A Half Furlongs

The Unit each way at 6/1 with Coral

It may well pay to concentrate on the younger runners in this field, with seven of the past eight winners being aged six or younger. There are a raft of likely sorts in here, with many of the top yards represented, but the one we like best is the Alan King runner, The Unit.

Rated 140 over hurdles, he has already risen to a mark of 142 over fences courtesy of a sterling effort when beaten just 1 ¾l off level weights by the 152 rated Neptune winner Willoughby Court last time out. That’s just about the best form on offer amongst the contenders here, and with King’s yard seeming to be finding its stride at just the right time for this meeting, The Unit is fancied to at least make the frame at very solid looking odds.

1:55pm – 32Red Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) – Three Miles

Benatar each way at 16/1 with Betfair

This race has seen its share of smart winners in recent times, with Gold Cup winners Long Run and Coneygree, in addition to Dynaste and Grand Crus, all featuring on the roll of honour. If there is so be a top flight performer in the making amongst this year’s contenders, the stats suggest they are most likely to be found amongst the younger runners in the field given that seven of the past eight winners have been aged six or below.

Black Corton and Elegant Escape are interesting contenders from this age bracket and are closely matched on their clash at Newbury last time out. We can see both going well, but at a much bigger price, the one we like is the Gary Moore runner Benatar.

Seeking a hat-trick here, this son of Beneficial was unsuited by having to make the running last time out but still got the job done in resounding style. He should get more cover here, enabling him to come with a late run and he can at least make the frame, with odds of 16/1 offering brilliant value to our eyes.

2:30pm – Unibet Christmas Hurdle (Grade 1) – Two Miles

Buveur D’Air to win at 1/3 with Betfair

We have the chance to see two of the most popular hurdlers in training in our next contest, as The New One and My Tent Or Yours lock horns once again. My Tent Or Yours took this prize way back in 2013 and mastered The New One last time out in an International Hurdle thriller. The Nicky Henderson runner will be 6lbs worse off with The New One here though, which may well be enough to turn the tables. Third in the International, the Willie Mullins-trained, Melon is also amongst the early entries. The Irish raider does have work to do to reverse that form, but at just five years old, he is still open to plenty of improvement.

Realistically the above paragraph should only concern the battle for the places here, as the current favourite for the race, Buveur D’Air simply looks a class apart. The defending Champion Hurdle king looked majestic in his comeback run, when turning the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle into a procession, and has now usurped Faugheen “The Machine” in many lists for the 2018 Champion Hurdle. Faugheen stays in Ireland this year having come home in front here in both 2014 and 2015, and we expect Buveur D’Air to follow suit on route to what is building up into a mighty showdown in March.

3:05pm – 32Red King George VI Chase (Grade 1) – Three Miles

Might Bite to win at 13/8 with BetVictor

We can’t remember a poor edition of the King George VI Chase, but the 2017 renewal really does look to be a cracker. It’s only 12 months ago that Colin Tizzard’s Thistlecrack emerged from this race looking invincible. One year on though and with an injury and a poor comeback run to overcome, it takes a leap of faith to support him here, for all we would love to see him bounce back.

Then, of course, there is the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained six year old, Bristol De Mai, who won his most recent Grade 1 contest by the small matter of 57 lengths. We suspect he would be significantly shorter in the market here if trained by a Nicholls or a Mullins, and will be looking to prove once and for all that he is much more than a Haydock mud-lark. Many are putting his sensational win that day down purely to the going but we certainly feel there is more about him than that.

Of the others, Disko is improving and looks likely to at least give it a good go from the front, whilst Fox Norton has the class to take a hand if seeing out this trip. Course and distance winner Tea For Two is another who isn’t out of it having finished fourth here last year. The two we like best though hail from the yard of Nicky Henderson.

Whisper has shown himself to be a seriously smart performer this season, with his weight carrying display in the Ladbrokes Trophy – in a race which was run in an excellent time for the conditions – in particular standing out. He is not without a chance here, but we can’t help but remember what his stablemate and current favourite for the race did to him twice last season.

Cruising clear in the RSA at Cheltenham, Might Bite stopped after the final flight, let Whisper catch up and overtake him, and then still reeled him in from what was virtually a standing start. Next time out he beat him again – this time in more orthodox fashion - when stamping his class all over the Mildmay Novices contest at Aintree. It was that RSA performance that was a remarkable effort though, as was the display he was in the process of producing when miles clear before falling at the last in the Kauto Star Novices Chase at this meeting last year. Those were remarkable efforts from what very well may be a remarkable horse. Some may be put off by his erratic tendencies but we think on ability alone he has the class to deliver, even at relatively short odds.

3:40pm – 32Red Download The App Handicap Hurdle (Class 3) – Two Miles Five Furlongs

Kildistart each way

We have what looks to be an extremely competitive handicap contest to round off the day’s action, in a race which has been won by a four year old in each of the past four seasons. That stat points to Mr Malarky, who is the only four year old in this year’s line-up but we will be taking him on with the Ben Pauling-trained five year old, Kildistart.

Breaking his duck over hurdles at the second time of asking last time out at Ascot, we were really taken by the way he found a second wind to win going away in the end. That augurs well ahead of step up in trip and he looks well worth a punt.