Boxing Day racing tips – Friday tips at Wetherby, Kempton, Wincanton and Wolverhampton
Horse racing returns to action with a top-class programme for Boxing Day which includes the King George VI Chase at Kempton. We’ve looked over the Friday schedule to pick out our best Boxing Day racing tips across the UK.
Merry Christmas to all readers!
Following a short break UK horse racing action returns on Boxing Day with four excellent racecards to take in where the feature King George VI Chase spearheads the racecard at Kempton and is one of three Grade One races on the card.
Elsewhere, the competitive Rowland Meyrick Chase headlines the card at Wetherby and will form part of Friday’s ITV Racing coverage alongside the best of the action from Kempton’s fixture; while completing the Boxing Day jumps racing action is Wincanton.
There is also all-weather racing action on the card at Wolverhampton with a fixture on the tapeta finishing under the floodlights. We’ve looked through the Friday schedule of horse racing to pick out our best Boxing Day racing tips at each meeting.
BOXING DAY RACING TIPS – FRIDAY TIPS AT WETHERBY, KEMPTON, WINCANTON & WOLVERHAMPTON
1:15 Kempton – Play Ladbrokes 5-A-Side On Football Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (GBB Race) Cl3 (4yo+ 0-140) 2m4½f
ALNADAM won an Irish point to post for Robert Tyner prior to joining Dan Skelton and the Poliglote gelding wasted no time in showing what he was capable of with two hurdles wins from five starts in soft and heavy ground.
He’s continued the good work over fences, finding only one too good on his seasonal debut at Carlisle last month and then going one better latest with a defeat of Before Midnight at Sandown where he won readily with the reopposing Killer Clown back in third.
An 8lbs rise in the weights demands more from him if he’s to follow up, while the ground may not be as testing as it was latest; but he’s a lightly-raced and unexposed sort who likely has more to come over fences and he can follow up here with further improvement anticipated.
1:28 Wetherby – William Hill Lengthen #YourOdds Handicap Chase Cl3 (4yo+ 0-140) 2m3½f
JOHNBB scored for the second time over fences when making a winning reappearance at this venue and the Stowaway gelding can follow up.
Tom Lacey’s charge won a soft-ground hurdles event at Ayr last January and following a promising switch to the larger obstacles at Aintree last November he got off the mark at Sandown next time before disappointing back there in January although he was possibly amiss.
He ran out an impressive winner on his return, scoring by four lengths from Schiehallion Munro and that form has held up with a subsequent winner since coming out of the race while the third ran well next time in a stronger contest at Aintree.
Likely to be sharper for his return he can do better still as a lightly-raced chaser who could have further improvement to come and a 6lbs rise looks workable so every chance he can step up again to register another win back at the scene of his last victory.
1:34 Wincanton – Lord Stalbridge Memorial Cup Handicap Chase (Challenger Staying Chase Series Qualifier) Cl3 (4yo+ 0-125) 3m1f
NEARLY PERFECT chased home Envoi Allen in an Irish point-to-point prior to joining his current yard and while he was winless over hurdles he did go close a couple of times; however Neil King’s charge has raised his game switched to chasing where he has won two of his four starts over the larger obstacles.
The Malinas gelding posted the latest of those successes at Wetherby earlier in the month when making a winning seasonal reappearance, beating Chef D’oeuvre by five lengths and there’s likely further improvement to come given his light-raced profile.
Unlikely to be fazed by the heavy ground he’s been raised 5lbs for that latest win, but the presence of top amateur Jack Andrews and his 7lbs claim offsets that extra burden and sees him effectively compete from 2lbs lower so every chance he can make his presence felt again where he can follow up that success last time.
1:50 Kempton – Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (In Memory Of Nigel Clark) (Grade 1) (GBB Race) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m
Irish point-to-point winner SHAN BLUE showed some good form over hurdles, scoring at Southwell before twice making the frame in Graded company at Warwick and Huntingdon respectively with the latter coming behind Cheltenham Festival winner Shishkin.
Dan Skelton’s charge went on to post a very creditable sixth in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, but the Shantou gelding has taken his form up a level since being sent chasing where he is 2-2 over fences and he looked a classy chase prospect in running out a wide margin winner of contests at Wetherby the latter of which came at this trip.
He’s barely touched a twig in either start, jumping superbly in both outings and he was visually impressive latest where he posted a 16 lengths’ defeat of Snow Leopardess who has won since. That rival got 13lbs so it was a huge effort to score as he did with the performance backed by the clock and with the potential for better still he ought to go close here.
2:05 Wetherby – William Hill Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (GBB Race) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m
Dan Skelton won this in 2017 and could collect again with SPIRITOFTHEGAMES who steps up to three miles for the first time and the extra yardage could unlock another level of form for the Darsi gelding who has been performing well in some top handicap chases in recent seasons including at the Cheltenham Festival.
A Listed chase winner on his debut over fences back in October 2018 he finished third at the Festival behind Siruh Du Lac before tackling Grade One company at Aintree. He was well beaten on that occasion and took a couple of runs to get back in form last term before posting back-to-back runner-up efforts in valuable Cheltenham handicaps before returning to the Festival.
Only Coole Cody proved too strong for him in the recent Paddy Power Gold Cup, but given that was his first run of the season he could step up for that run and off the same mark he could go well upped to this trip given he was a winner between the flags previously and with soft ground no problem he could go close despite having to give weight all round.
2:20 Wolverhampton – Betway Handicap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-105) 1m1½f
BIG COUNTRY was a bit hit-and-miss when traiend by Jamie Osborne, failing to add to the win tally he ha amassed for Michael Appleby previously which included a win at Listed level on turf and finishing fourth in the 2019 Winter Derby.
The High Chaparral gelding rounded off his time with Osbore by finishing runner-up at Chelmsford in August and having looked as if the longer trip just stretched him on his first run back with Michael Appleby at Kempton in November he got back to winning ways latest at Chelmsford over this yardage.
He ran out a two lengths’ victor over Lucky’s Dream, winning a shade comfortably and the fourth from that contest has won since to give the form a boost. That runner-up also reopposes here with a 2lbs pull for two lengths.
A subsequent 5lbs rise in the weights still leaves him well-treated on his old form and while perhaps not at the same level as he was in his younger days he can go well again back at this venue where he’s 2-2 and he can follow up that last-time win.
2:45 Wincanton – Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (Pertemps Hurdle Series Qualifier) (GBB Race) Cl2 (4yo+) 2m5½f
SOUTHFIELD HARVEST was beaten three lengths by the race-fit Shang Tang on his seasonal debut, but with that run under his belt Paul Nicholls’ charge might be able to reverse the form.
A winner of a Chepstow bumper, beating the useful Stolen Silver by a neck, he ran well on both starts over hurdles last term where he finished runner-up at this venue before winning over three miles at Ludlow in February.
He was giving his reopposing rival 5lbs and race-fitness when beaten last time at Ascot but his stamina for further could come into play on this more testing ground and he’ll meet his last time conquerer on significantly better terms now even notwithstanding his rider’s 3lbs claim.
Likely to come on for his return he can gain revenge here and no surprise to see the lightly-raced Kayf Tara gelding turn the tables.
4:05 Wolverhampton – Betway Conditions Stakes Cl2 (3yo+) 6f
LORD OF THE LODGE won twice during the 2019 turf season prior to chasing home Threat when thrust into that season’s Gimcrack where the Dandy Man colt was beaten just over one length.
Karl Burke’s charge made a winning return to action on his only run to date on the all-weather when successful over Amarillo Star at Newcastle in February and while he’s finished down the field on both starts on turf since that success he’s had excused both times.
Eighth behind Molatham over seven furlongs in soft ground he latterly failed to beat a rival home in the July Cup at Newmarket an this contest ought to be much more his level back on the all-weather.
His Newcastle win came on the back of a six months’ layoff so lack of a run may not prove too much of a hindrance and he’s had wind surgery since last seen which might unlock a jolt of improvement. A return to tapeta could see him in better light and he’s not one to write off from bouncing back to form with a better effort here.