Friday TV best bets – ITV Racing tips at Kempton and Wetherby on Boxing Day
The ITV racing cameras return to action on Boxing Day for some top-class racing action from Kempton and Wetherby. We’ve picked out our Friday TV best bets for the day’s coverage.
Having had a few days off Boxing Day sees the return of horse racing action around the UK and the ITV Racing cameras spring back into action on Friday with five races live from the meetings at Wetherby and Kempton.
The first-named venue sees the competitive Grade Three Rowland Meyrick Chase take centre-stage, but the attention will on be on Kempton where three Grade One races dominate from the Sunbury track spearheaded by the King George VI Chase which goes to post at 3pm.
Ed Chamberlain and the team will be on hand as usual to offer their expert racing tips, insights and post-race analysis on the Boxing Day feast of high-class racing; while we’ve looked through the day’s TV lineup to pick out our Friday TV best bets at both televised venues.
FRIDAY TV BEST BETS – ITV RACING TIPS AT KEMPTON & WETHERBY
1:15 Kempton – Play Ladbrokes 5-A-Side On Football Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (GBB Race) Cl3 (4yo+ 0-140) 2m4½f
Dan Skelton could have a very successful Boxing Day and ALNADAM is taken to strike in the TV opener for the Alcester handler which continues in decent fettle.
The lightly-raced Poliglote gelding won between the flags prior to joining this yard and he subsequently wasted little time in making his mark over hurdles last term where he won two from five starts. However he’s looked an even better chaser, making a good first impression at Carlisle on his seasonal return and switched to fences but then going one better to strike readily at Sandown latest.
He finished six lengths to the good on that occasion from Before Midnight, finishing strongly and with one of today’s rivals further back in third. Although he’s worse off at the weights with that rival following an 8lbs rise there’s likely further improvement to come and he looks sure to progress further so every chance he can uphold that form to register another win over the larger obstacles.
1:50 Kempton – Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (In Memory Of Nigel Clark) (Grade 1) (GBB Race) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m
SHAN BLUE has put in two exhibition rounds of jumping since being switched to the larger obstacles by Dan Skelton and the Shantou gelding can extend his perfect record over fences despite taking a big step up in grade.
A point to point winner in Ireland he showed a very good level of form over hurdles last term, winning at Southwell and making the frame in Graded company prior to posting a very creditable sixth in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle behind Envoi Allen at the Cheltenham Festival.
2-2 over fences with wide margin wins at Wetherby, the later of which came over this trip he has so far been faultless with his jumping of fences and he’s a very smart and exciting prospect who could yet have more to come in this discipline.
The runner-up from his latest success has won since and as he goes in search of his hat-trick he could prove tough to beat.
2:05 Wetherby – William Hill Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (GBB Race) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m
SPIRITOFTHEGAMES has just one win to his name over fences which came in a Listed contest at Chepstow back in October 2018, but Dan Skelton’s charge has run a number of solid races since and could end his losing streak here.
Also a winner between the flags as well as a three-time victor over hurdles the Darsi gelding has contested several high-profile handicaps since his sole chase win where he’s performed with credit and he finished runner-up in back-to-back Cheltenham contests including last season’s Caspian Caviar Gold Cup prior to tackling the Brown Advisory Plate at the Cheltneham Festival where he turned in another good effort despite finishing sixth.
Runner-up on his reappearance in the recent Paddy Power Gold Cup where only Coole Cody was too strong he has seen that form franked since by the fifth horse home and he can compete from the same mark here where the step up to three miles could unlock further improvement.
The yard won this in 2017 and the eight-year old might be able to hand them further success in the race despite having to concede weight to this field and no surprise if he gets competitive in this contest.
2:25 Kempton – Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m
Reigning Champion Hurdle champion EPATANTE looks very hard to take on in this latest Grade One renewal and having won the race twelve months ago the No Risk At All mare can double up.
Nicky Henderson’s charge has only once been beaten over hurdles which came when disappointing in the 2019 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival having won her two previous starts; she’s since won all four outings following that defeat including this race and her Cheltenham Crown as well as when impressively winning the Fighting Fifth Hurdle on her return last month.
Representing a yard with an excellent record in this race having won seven of the last ten renewals she sets a very stiff standard and she should take plenty of beating where she can confirm last season’s form in the race with Silver Streak who reopposes.
Given however that her Newcastle run last time was her seasonal debut, she’ll strip a lot fitter as a result and the standard bearer on official ratings should prove a tough nut to crack in defence of her crown.
3:00 Kempton – Ladbrokes King George VI Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m
The feature race of the day where Clan Des Obeaux bids for a three-timer in the race, but LOSTINTRANSLATION could bounce back to winning form having looked badly in need of the run in heavy ground on his reappearance in the Betfair Chase.
Colin Tizzard’s charge isn’t at his best when the ground is as testing and he went from strength to strength over fences during a successful novices’ campaign and continued to progress last term prior to disappointing in this contest twelve months ago where he reportedly suffered a breathing problem.
The Flemensfirth gelding bounced back following wind surgery to finish a gallant third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and likely to strip fitter for his reappearance he could prove a different proposition with that run under his belt; while the less testing ground will also suit so a big run wouldn’t come as a surprise despite the yard being relatively quiet at present.