FOR racing followers Christmas is concerning the King George VI Chase.
That’s not good for these making an attempt to unfold the phrase of the beginning of the Christ baby.
Nevertheless it’s not all dangerous information on that entrance, as a result of if there’s a God then certainly final evening he could have despatched a dreamlike picture highlighting at this time’s huge Kempton winner!
You may’t single out one nice King George victor. There have been so many.
Relying in your age, for a few of you Wayward Lad beating Fifty Extra and Silver Buch in 1982 will likely be high of the checklist. It’s inconceivable to assume there have been many higher races.
However then there was Desert Orchid, the ‘silver shadow’ who landed the competition 4 occasions, and The Fellow and One Man.
Who can overlook Challenger du Luc cruising as much as See Extra Enterprise, solely to do a ‘Harchibald’ when push got here to shove, or Baton Financial institution’s well-known final fence blunder.
Kicking King additionally smashed by means of the final on one among his successful efforts, though in contrast to Barton Financial institution he survived.
Extra not too long ago Kauto Star reigned supreme a report 5 occasions, and Cue Card amazingly picked off Vautour in 2015.
These reminiscences alone put hearth within the Christmas stomach. And at this time we would see one thing particular as soon as once more.
In some ways the 2017 renewal hinges on whether or not Would possibly Chew is the true deal. The intestine feeling – albeit a hefty intestine after yesterday’s Christmas edibles – is that he’s.
Do not miss Templegate’s high pinstickers’ information to the King George
KING OF KEMPTON
All the latest King George news as eight are declared for the Grade 1 race
GET ON TREND
Who will win the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day?
RACECARDS AND RESULTS
The latest odds, results and tips for today’s meeting at Kempton
RACECARDS AND RESULTS
The latest odds, results and tips for today’s meeting at Wincanton
BEST FOOT FORWARD
Top Tipster Eamonn Hames’ best horse racing tips for Tuesday, December 26
Nicky Henderson’s Might Bite lands the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton
RACECARDS AND RESULTS
The latest odds, results and tips for today’s meeting at Huntingdon
Might Bite is no youngster at the age of eight. That said, he’s arguably the perfect age for a chaser and has the same number of years as two of the last three winners of the Grade 1 showpiece.
With a career record of eight wins from 13 starts, Might Bite has proved a much better chaser than hurdler.
He was wayward in the RSA in beating the re-opposing Whisper, but much less so when defeating the same horse in the Mildmay at Aintree.
Also on his return, Might Bite showed no ‘character’ that would be of concern when scoring at Sandown.
Might Bite’s asset is a strong cruising speed that will get many of his rivals off the bridle and under pressure at half way. That’s the part of the race he excels in.
That’s not good news for Bristol de Mai, who on really testing ground grinds the opposition into the aforementioned ground.
Matt Chapman’s TV tips
1.20 Kempton – MISTER WHITAKER: ‘A real improver and hacked up last time, could be hard to keep out the frame’ (add to your betslip)
1.55 Kempton – BALLYOPTIC: ‘Stays very strong and can reverese the form with Black Corton’ (add to your betslip)
2.10 Wetherby – WAKANDA: ‘I expect him to be at least in the first three here’ (add to your betslip)
2.30 Kempton – BUVEUR D’AIR: ‘Reigning champion hurdler and should win easy’ (add to your betslip)
3.05 Kempton – MIGHT BITE: ‘Should have most of the field beaten by halfway!’ (add to your betslip)
In Ypres-like conditions Bristol de Mai hacked up in the Betfair Chase at Haydock. But this will be a much speedier test.
Astonishingly for most, Might Bite is officially 11lb inferior to Bristol de Mai on ratings with the latter rated 173. Indeed, only roughies Double Shuffle and Traffic Fluide was rated less that the market leader.
That tells us that Might Bite is very much still about potential.
Thistlecrack, last year’s hero in a poor renewal, has much to prove. He returned from injury with a pretty poor effort over hurdles at Newbury on December 1.
His form is also open to question – even when he was hacking up.
That said, I have always felt there was something a bit special about Thistlecrack. If he won it would not be a surprise – but it would be a great training performance from Colin Tizzard.
Fox Norton steps up in trip, but I can’t have him in this race. The Ryanair at Cheltenham should be his target. And Whisper surely won’t be good enough despite his decent effort against Might Bite in the RSA.
Davy Russell has been the making of Whisper – and he’s not turning up for the gig, preferring to stay in Ireland!
In many ways Might Bite is one to take on. But I’m not going to. There are too many question marks about his main rivals, and I can see Nico de Boinville jumping for fun on the front end.
Might Bite could just hack up, and while he’s not going to make any of us rich I expect him to provide Nicky Henderson with another King George, following in the hoofprints of dual winner Long Run.
The Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle will not be a betting heat for most, but it will still be a treat to see reigning champion Buveur d’Air.
However, Buveur d’Air is in for a bad week, as the machine – Faugheen – goes in the Grade 1 Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown on Friday.
I can’t wait. Yeeehaaa!