A massive horse racing day on Boxing Day with eight domestic fixtures, but the festive highlight, as racing resumes after a two-day break, is the King George VI Meeting at Kempton Park.
The King George VI Chase is, of course, the feature race on the day as punters will look to get their Christmas expenses paid for – a race in recent years we’ve seen horse racing greats like Kauto Star, Long Run, Best Mate, Kicking King, One Man and, more recently, Thistlecrack and Might Bite, landing the prize. Did you know – 12 of the last 16 King George winners were aged 8 or younger?
We take a look at each race on the Kempton card, plus the Rowland Meyrick Chase from Wetherby and highlight the main trends – hopefully this will help you narrow down the fields and point you in the direction of a few winners.
So, as always, we’ve got it all covered here on JUICESTORM with all the key trends, plus our verdict, on each of the LIVE ITV races – we’re confident these trends will point you in the direction of a few winners, or at least help narrow down some of the field to highlight the horses that fit the best profile of past winners – So, let’s get going!
Kempton Horse Racing Trends (RUK/ITV)
12:50 – 32Red Casino Mobile Novices’ Hurdle Race 2m
11/11 – Had raced in the last 8 weeks
10/11 – Aged 4 or 5 years-old
9/11 – Winning distance 3 lengths or more
9/11 – Favourites placed in the top 3
9/11 – Returned 7/2 or shorter in the betting
8/11 – Had won a NH Flat race before
7/11 – Won just once over hurdles before
7/11 – Winning favourites
3/11 – Ridden by Richard Johnson
3/11 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
2/11 – Ridden by Barry Geraghty
If The Cap Fits (6/4 fav) won the race 12 months ago
Nicky Henderson has a great record in this race so anything he runs should be noted. At this stage he’s got Mister Fisher and EPANTATE entered, who are both course winners, but of the pair it’s the last-named that catches the eye. This JP McManus-owned 4 year-old was a good winner on his UK debut here over course and distance last month and being a filly gets a handy weight pull from the others – there should be more to come. Recent winners Didtheyleaveuoutto, The Big Bite and Brewin ‘Upastorm are others to note.
1.20 – 32Red.com Chase (A Novices´ Limited Handicap) Chase Cl3 2m4f110y ITV
14/14 – Aged 7 or younger
13/14 – Had won between 0-1 times over fences in the UK
12/14 – Raced within the last 5 weeks
9/14 – Placed 1st or 2nd last time out
8/14 – Placed favourites (1 joint)
7/14 – Officially rated between 119 and 125
7/14 – Carried 11-6 or more
6/14 – Winning distance – 6 lengths or more
6/14 – Winning favourites (1 joint)
5/14 – Won by a French bred horse
5/14 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
3/14 – Won last time out
3/14 – Ridden by Richard Johnson
2/14 – Raced at Kempton last time out
Hell’s Kitchen (9/2) won the race 12 months ago
Several interesting runners here and this is another race the Nicky Henderson yard have a good record in – winning it 5 times in the last 14 years – at this stage he’s got several entered – Pacific De Baune, Lough Derg Spirit, Kupatana, The Bottom Bar and Turtle Wars but we’ll have to see which ones make the final line – whichever ones do should be respected. Glen Forsa and Warthog were both good winners last time out and also enter the mix for the Mick Channon and David Pipe teams but the call here is DELL ORO (e/w) for Gary Moore. This 5 year-old is a consistent sort that ran well on his return last month here to be second to the useful Chesterfield and only got run out of it in the closing stages. He’ll be better for that run as it came off a long break and we know he handles the track.
1.55 – 32RedKauto Star Novices´ Chase (In memory of Nigel Clark) (Grade 1) Cl1 3m ITV
15/15 – Raced within the last 6 weeks
14/15 – Placed in the top two last time out
11/15 – Won last time out
11/15 – Winning distance – 3 lengths or more
11/15 – Aged 6 or younger
11/15 – French (6) or Irish (5) bred
10/15 – Had won at least 2 times over fences in the UK
10/15 – Went onto run in that season’s RSA Chase (no winners)
10/15 – Returned 5/2 or shorter in the betting
9/15 – Aged 6 years-old
8/15 – Placed favourites
8/15 – Had won (chase) over at least 3m before
7/15 – Winning favourites
7/15 – Raced at Newbury last time out
3/15 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
2/15 – Trained by David Pipe
2/15 – Ridden by Ruby Walsh
2/15 – Ridden by Tom Scudamore
2/15 – Raced at Cheltenham last time out
1/15 – French trained
1/15 – Went onto run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup (One winner – Coneygree 2015)
Royal Vacation (33/1) won the race 12 months ago
Topofthegame fluffed the start last time at Exeter but still did well to finish second to Defi De Seuil so with more luck at the start would be a player. Mr Whipped did well to win last time too and is a useful hurdler that’s making a name for himself over fences and the same can be said for Bags Groove, who has won his last three for the Harry Fry camp. Santini will be popular too after winning well at Newbury on his chase debut and the form as been franked since with the second – Rocky’s Treasure – winning again. However, that horse has to give 7lbs to the classy mare – LA BAGUE AU ROI – who has won well the last twice at Newbury. She’s a hurdles winner at the track here at Kempton and having caught the eye with her jumping then feel there’s more to come. Yes, this will be her toughest test to date but the 7lbs she gets will be a big help.
2.30 – Unibet Christmas Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 2m ITV
14/16 – Raced within the last 6 weeks
14/16 – Had won at least 4 times over hurdles before
13/16 – Placed favourites
13/16 – Returned 11/4 or shorter in the betting
10/16 – Went onto run in the Champion Hurdle (Faughan (2015) & Buveur D’Air (2018) winners)
10/16 – Won last time out
9/16 – Winning favourites
8/16 – Irish trained
8/16 – Ran in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle (Newcastle) last time out
8/16 – Went onto finish in the top 5 in the Champion Hurdle that season
7/16 – Had run over hurdles at Kempton before
6/16 – French bred
5/16 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
4/16 – Trained by Noel Meade
2/16 – Trained by Jonjo O’Neill
2/16 – Trained by Willie Mullins
Owner JP McManus has won the last two runnings
Buveur D’Air (2/11 fav) won the race 12 months ago
Global Citizen was gutsy from the front last time out at Newbury and should go well, as can Verdana Blue and The Cap Fits, however, it’s hard to look beyond BUVEUR D’AIR here. The current champion hurdler returned to the track with a classy win in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle last time out and being on an official mark of 172 is rated around 20lbs higher than most of these. He also won this race 12 months ago and is no unbeaten from his last 11 runs over hurdles.
3.05 – 32Red King George VI Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 3m ITV
15/16 – Had won a Grade One chase before
15/16 – Returned 9/2 or shorter in the betting
15/16 – Had raced within the last 5 weeks
15/16 – Finished in the top three last time out
14/16 – Placed favourites
14/16 – French (10) or Irish bred (4)
14/16 – Had won over 3m or further (fences) before
13/16 – Officially rated 169 or higher
12/16 – Aged 8 or younger
11/16 – Winning favourites
11/16 – Won last time out
10/16 – Had won a race over fences at Kempton before
9/16 – Ran in the Betfair Chase (Haydock) last time out
8/16 – Aged 6 or 7 years-old
7/16 – Won by a previous winner of the race
7/16 – Trained by Paul Nicholls (9 times in all)
5/16 – Ridden by Ruby Walsh
2/16 – Ridden by Barry Geraghty
2/16 – Ridden by Noel Fehily
2/16 – Won by an Irish-based yard (only 3 in the last 32 runnings)
Colin Tizzard and Nicky Henderson have trained 5 of the last 8 winners (2 Tizzard, 3 Henderson)
The average winning SP in the last 16 years is 7/2
A cracking renewal of the Christmas Boxing Day card with many chances. The current Gold Cup hero Native River will be popular and has never finished out of the top three from 14 starts over fences. He’s a reliable sort that looks sure to be in the mix. Tea For Two often runs well in this race and of the bigger priced runners looks good each-way value. Bristol De Mai certainly has the class, but the jury is still out if he’s as good away from this beloved Haydock and he flopped in this race last year at 3/1 too. Might Bite is the current champ so can be ignored either but he’s on a recovery mission after running well below-par last time out in the Betfair Chase when last of five. He’s a big player but this looks a much better race than the one he took last year and there are a few chinks in his armour that are starting to appear. Thistlecrack was the 2016 winner of this race and returned from a few issues with a fair third in the Betfair Chase. He’s another that can go well but at the age of 10 will need to defy the key age trend – 12 of the last 16 winners were aged 8 or younger. So, the two that interest me the most are POLITOLOUGE and WAITING PATIENTLY. The first-named will be looking to give trainer Paul Nicholls his tenth win in the race and after returning with a smooth win at Ascot last month and the form of that win has since been franked with the runner-up landing the Peterborough Chase recently. Yes, this is a step up in trip, but he’s been running as if the extra three furlongs are within range and at just 7 years-old he still looks to be improving. Waiting Patiently is a horse with bundles of potential that has one all six of his starts over fences. Connections have treated him with kid-gloves over the last few seasons but he’s a course winner here too and a horse that travels and jumps really well. He’s another that will have to prove himself over the trip as this will be the furthest he’s gone but with most of the key trends on his side then he’s got a lot going for him. He does return from a 312-day break, but don’t worry too much as he’s won first time out for the last two seasons.
15:40 – 32Red Download The App Handicap Hurdle Race 2m5f
11/11 – Won no more than 3 times (UK Hurdles)
10/11 – Aged 6 or younger
9/11 – Won between 0-2 times hurdles (UK)
9/11 – Returned 8/1 or shorter
9/11 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
8/11 – Carried 11-2 or more in weight
7/11 – Officially rated 120-128
7/11 – Ran 5 or less weeks ago
7/11 – Won last time out
6/11 – Aged 5 or 6 years-old
5/11 – Unplaced favourites
5/11 – French bred
3/11 – Winning favourites
2/11 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
Always a tricky race to end with but the Jonjo O’Neill team took this race a couple of years ago and having booked Noel Fehily to ride their MONTALBANO early on then this is a good sign this former Willie Mullins runner is tuned-up to go well. He was last seen running second to the useful Tombstone at Limerick and certainly looks a fair recruit to the yard. Soft ground is fine and at just 6 years-old will have more to offer. Of the rest, Nicky Henderson and Alan King are other yards that have won this race in recent years so anything they run should be given a second glance, but the other interesting one here is the Jane Williams-trained ERICK LE ROUGE. This 4 year-old has won his last two impressively and despite going up 10lbs for the last of those successes the jockey is able to claim 7lbs here (only claimed 3lbs last time) so is actually only up 6lbs. He won by 18 lengths that day and even though this is a rise in grade he looks a hurdler with a lot of potential.
Wetherby Horse Racing Trends (RUK/ITV)
2.10- 188Bet Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 3m45y ITV
9/10 – Didn’t win last time out
9/10 – Aged 8 or younger
9/10 – Had won 3 or less times over fences (UK)
8/10 – Carried 11-0 or less in weight
8/10 – Aged 7 or 8 years-old
8/10 – Raced in the last 5 weeks
8/10 – Returned 9/1 or shorter in the betting
7/10 – Unplaced in their last race
7/10 – Had raced at Wetherby before
6/10 – Had won over 3m (chase) before
5/10 – Irish bred
4/10 – Raced at either Haydock (2) or Aintree (2) last time out
2/10– Winning favourites
Get On The Yager won the race 12 months ago
The average winning SP in the last 9 runnings is 10/1
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