Kempton & Wetherby Tips for 26th December 2022

Result: £-3.87 Results for Kempton & Wetherby Tips for 26th December 2022

With Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday this year, there’s no Saturday racing on ITV this coming weekend. However, armchair viewers don’t have too long to wait for the next feast of action, with the ITV crew heading to Kempton and Wetherby for their traditional Boxing Day meetings, and what is one of the finest days of the jumps racing year.

All four Grade 1 events from Kempton are included in the five-race TV offering, headlined of course by the historic King George VI Chase, with the big-field handicap of the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase from Wetherby rounding out the action. Here we pick out our best bets in this week’s TV Racing Tips as we seek to beat the bookies and bring some belated festive cheer!

12:45 Ladbrokes Long Walk Hurdle

Grade 1, 3m½f


The “Saturday” TV racing kicks off at Kempton with this event having been rerouted from its traditional home of Ascot. Five go to post in what looks a fascinating clash of the staying hurdlers. The rematch of Champ and Paisley Park – who are meeting here for the fifth time – is dominating the build-up to the race, but that duo are both soon to turn 11 and are a little past their best. In addition, stats and trend fans will want to note that the past 10 editions of this one have gone to a horse aged nine or younger. Not Too Sleepy, also currently 10, falls into the “too old” category.

Gary Moore’s Goshen is talented but enigmatic and facing a big step up in trip. He is unlikely to get the better ground which would suit. Paul Nicholls’ Miranda has been the one attracting support in the lead-up to the race. She was impressive in a Listed mare’s event over this course and distance last time out but faces a step up in class here. However, with the forecast rain suggesting she’ll get the soft ground she craves, we think the seven year old is the pick at 11/4.

1:20 Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase

Grade 1, 3m

Galia Des Liteaux

The up-and-coming chasers get their crack at the King George course and distance in one of the classiest staying novice events of the season. Paul Nicholls won this with Bravemansgame last year, and it is his McFabulous who is the clear favourite this time around. He is however at least a year older than a typical winner of this and it’s hard to get too carried away with his win over a blundering Thyme Hill last time out. At the prices, we prefer to look elsewhere.

McFabulous’s stablemate Gelino Bello is interesting on the back of his excellent hurdles form, but overall, we fancy this may fall to former Nicholls protégé, Dan Skelton. Skelton’s Galia Des Liteaux has come right into it with the heavens opening up in the lead up to this and can get the job done at 10/3.

1:35 William Hill Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase

Premier Handicap, 3m

Top Ville Ben EW

No Saturday TV racing schedule would be complete without at least one decent handicap and, whilst the day may be different, Boxing Day viewers face a fiendish puzzle in the day’s only event from Wetherby. Normally a big field affair, there’s only set to be 12 go to post but it remains a race which includes a whole host of intriguing contenders.

The favourite Shan Blue makes the shortlist, but at a bigger price, we prefer an each-way punt on Top Ville Ben from the yard of Philip Kirby. He ran a credible third last month under top weight in his first race since pulling up in the Grand National, and crucially he loves it around here. Seven starts at Wetherby have yielded three wins, including in this race in 2019. Third in last year’s race he can challenge for the places again at 22/1.

1:55 Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle

Class 1, 2m

Constitution Hill

From the most competitive race of the day to the one which – on paper at least – looks to be the most one-sided. In the 2m hurdling division, many have already written the story of the season, with Nicky Henderson’s Constitution Hill expected to sweep all before him and cement his position as one of the sport’s newest, and brightest, stars. And in all honesty, there is no logical reason to disagree with that assessment.

Unbeaten in four starts under rules, the five-year-old has looked in a completely different league to all who have crossed his path. Winning the benchmark contest of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival by a ridiculous 22 lengths, he returned to the track when cantering to a 12-length success in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, with the second favourite for this race, Epatante, left trailing in his wake. It will be interesting to see how the up-and-coming Knappers Hill and I Like To Move It get along, but it would be a major surprise were they to do anything other than chase Constitution Hill home. From a distance!

2:30 Ladbrokes King George VI Chase

Grade 1, 3m

Envoi Allen

The yard of Paul Nicholls is the obvious place to begin when assessing the entries for this historic festive showpiece. The Ditcheat maestro has sent out the winner on no fewer than 12 occasions and sends three into battle this time around.

The popular Frodon is the most proven of the trio, having come home in front under Bryony Frost in 2020, but is pushing 11 now and may be undone by at least one of the younger runners. Hitman boasts a similar profile to dual winner Clan Des Obeaux but is venturing into the unknown regarding the trip.

It is the third Nichols inmate, Bravemansgame, whom the market has latched onto. Four from five over fences and likened to the mighty Denman in the past, he arrives on the back of a win over the reopposing Eldorado Allen and ought to go well.

The obvious danger to Bravemansgame is L’Homme Presse from the Venetia Williams operation. The top-rated runner in the line-up, he was brilliant in seeing them all off from the front in the Brown & Advisory Plate at the Cheltenham Festival and put up a huge weight-carrying performance in his prep for this at Newcastle. He’s hard not to like, particularly should the rain arrive.

However, that doesn’t seem 100% certain at present, and the horse did disappoint in his only previous outing on a flat track at Aintree. As such, and given the prices, we prefer to look elsewhere.

In what looks set to be a cracker, the best value bet may be a wager on the Henry De Bromhead runner, Envoi Allen. Running over 2m didn’t go to plan for this one last season, but his comeback win over this trip at Down Royal was much more like it when staying on best of all to see off Grade 1 winners Kemboy, Conflated, Galvin, and Beacon Edge. If in similar form here, the seven-time Grade 1 winner can take an open looking renewal.