We’re looking ahead to a bumper Boxing Day treat with a sackful of runners holding great claims for this year’s crown in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park, the feature event of the Christmas racing schedule.
This is a race where favourites have done particularly well over the years and those looking for long-odds success have usually gone unrewarded.
Having said that, as we write there’s no certainty who will take that favourite berth with many shrewd punters looking to the skies to get a clue as to their selection’s chances, given any turn in the weather and, therefore, the going in coming days.
You can throw a blanket over half a dozen, most of whom have mixed it with each other over the past couple of years, as some of the top chasers of their generation, but with no real shining star emerging – certainly not one from constellation Kauto.
Last year’s winner, Silviniaco Conti must have great claims again and has been well primed for this event, forging to victory in the recent Betfair Chase at Haydock after trotting round in a run out that was merely that at Wetherby. But he likes softer ground than he may get at Kempton and could just find one or two with the pace late on to nose past him.
There’s been a lot of exciting talk about youngster Champagne Fever in recent days but we reckon this may be a year too early for the promising stayer whose trainer, Willie Mullins, admits is perhaps biting off a bit too much, too soon in this company.
Dynaste and Cue Card both clearly needed the Betfair Chase to get back into the swing of things and that came too early for both of those classy types. They should be in the mix on Boxing Day but may be destined for the places again.
One we do like the look of is Al Ferof who impressed at Ascot at the end of November against some decent types. He needs to prove his stamina over this distance but looks in good form coming into Kempton.
Our tip, though, is Menorah who comes from the bang in-form Paul Hobbs stable and has shown flashes of really good form this year. He’ll appreciate slightly better ground than he got in the Betfair Chase when he pushed Silviniaco Conti all the way and was still looking strong at the line.