ITV Racing tips Boxing Day Thursday – Live TV tips for Kempton and Wetherby

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Get Brian Healy's live ITV Racing tips the Boxing Day coverage of Kempton and Wetherby, including the King George VI Chase.

The ITV Racing cameras are back in action on Boxing Day Thursday with a Christmas cracker of a line-up of live TV racing action where the King George VI Chase dominates a five-race line-up.

The Grade One feature race spearheads Thursday’s live TV racing which also includes two further Grade One contests as well as the Grade Three Rowland Meyrick Chase from Wetherby.

1:20 Kempton – Ladbrokes “Where The Nation Plays” Chase (A Novices’ Limited Handicap) Cl3 (4yo+ 0-140) 2m4½f
1:55 Kempton – Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (In Memory Of Nigel Clark) (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m
2:10 Wetherby – 888Sport Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m
2:30 Kempton – Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m
3:05 Kempton – Ladbrokes King George VI Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m

Ed Chamberlain an the team will be on hand again to offer up their usual expert tips, insights and post-race analysis of the Boxing Day action, and Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections for the day’s live TV racing.

1:20 Kempton – Ladbrokes “Where The Nation Plays” Chase (A Novices’ Limited Handicap) Cl3 (4yo+ 0-140) 2m4½f

DOCTOR DEX (7/1, Ladbrokes) has shaped with promise in both his chase starts this term, making a winning introduction to the larger obstacles at Ascot in November and then chasing home Generous Day over course and distance later in the same month.

Tom George’s charge was a dual-winning hurdler last term, and he contested some hot raced at Cheltenham and Aintree respectively following his wins where he was far from disgraced in defeat.

Switched to fences this term, he ran out a near-three lengths’ winner over On The Slopes on his reapperance, and there was a lot to like about his subsequent runner-up effort here latest where a last fence mistake probably cost dearly having been robbed of momentum.

He has been raised 2lbs for that run, but there’s every likelihood that he could have more to offer and he ought to handle this softer ground having placed in similar conditions in bumpers. This does look a pretty strong contest, but he ought to make his presence felt and no surprise to see him in the mix.

1:20 – Ladbrokes “Where The Nation Plays” Chase (A Novices’ Limited Handicap) Cl3 (4yo+ 0-140) 2m4½f

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DOCTOR DEX 7 /1
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Trainer Tom George saddles Doctor Dex in the ITV Racing opener on Boxing Day.

1:55 Kempton – Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (In Memory Of Nigel Clark) (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m

An excellent renewal of this Grade One contest could go the way of BLACK OP (3/1, Coral) who has been a reformed character back over fences having switched to more forceful tactics, and the Grade One-winning hurdler can add a Grade One chase to his record here.

The Sandmason gelding bumped into both Defi Du Seuil and Lostintranslation in his two runs over fenced last term, after which he twice locked horns with Paisley Park at Cheltenham. He finished third to that rival in the Cleeve Hurdle, but disappointed in the Stayers’ Hurdle and subsequently failed to fire on his final outing at Sandown.

Having had wind surgery in the off-season, he returned to action and chasing with an impressive success over Mr Antolini at Stratford, and although he was beaten next time at Newbury in the Berkshire Novices’ Chase he did make the high-class Champ battle hard for the win.

It remains debatable whether he really wants three miles, but he steps back up in trip for this latest outing and a sharp three miles around Kempton ought to be within his range. He has won a point-to-point previously though, so he remains with plenty of scope as a chaser and he should remain competitive despite possibly facing some competition for the lead.

1:55 – Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (In Memory Of Nigel Clark) (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m

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BLACK OP 3 /1
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Black Op can win the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

2:10 Wetherby – 888Sport Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m

This field features four of the nine runners which went to post for the recent Rehearsal Chase at Wetherby, and it could pay to side with the fourth horse home in that race JONNIESOFA (8/1, Paddy Power) to get back on the winning trail.

Rose Dobbin’s charge has been difficult to train in recent seasons with long spells on the sidelines; but he showed he retained all his old ability when running out an easy winner on his return from almost two years off the track at Ayr in November, and he wasn’t disgraced subsequently when beaten six lengths into fourth at Newcastle last time.

A dual-winner in the point-to-point sphere as well as scoring three times over hurdles, he handles testing conditions well and given his lightly-raced profile he could yet have more to offer in this discipline where he turns out from the same mark as he did last time.

Now 3lbs better off with the third, Top Ville Ben, he had pulled well clear of Lake View Lad – who won this twelve months ago – and he should continue to remain competitive so every chance he can go close in this contest.

14.10 Wetherby – 888Sport Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4yo+)

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JONNIESOFA 8 /1
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Jonniesofa can win the Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby on ITV Racing.

2:30 Kempton – Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m

Nicky Henderson has an excellent record in this contest, and the Seven Barrows trainer saddles three in the race including FUSIL RAFFLES (7/4, Ladbrokes) who overcame plenty of adversity to make a winning reappearance in the Elite Hurdle.

The Saint Des Saints had won both his starts last term, scoring impressively over course and distance in the Adonis Hurdle before returning at Punchestown in April to deny Fakir D’doudairies to collect a first Grade One success on just his second start.

His recent reappearance came on ground softer than he had encountered previously, and he was trying to concede race-fitness to the runner-up Grand Sancy who is no mug.

The pair had pulled well clear of an admittedly limited field; but having raced keenly throughout the race which was run at a relative crawl, he found more when it mattered when challenged by the eventual runner-up having taken up the running between the last two hurdles, and he was perhaps value for more than the official winning distance.

He is sure to strip fitter for that return to action, and if he settles better then he could prove a tough nut to crack assuming he handles the likely softer ground here.

2:30 – Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m

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FUSIL RAFFLES 7 /4
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Fusil Raffles heads a strong Nicky Henderson assault on Kempton’s Christmas Hurdle.

3:05 Kempton – Ladbrokes King George VI Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m

Paul Nicholls boasts a strong hand with both last year’s winner Clan Des Obeaux and Altior-conquering Cyrname lining up for this premier Grade One prize.

However, Colin Tizzard is also nap handed with both Thistlecrack and LOSTINTRANSLATION (15/8, Unibet) heading to post, and the latter could take some stopping from adding this prize to his ever-growing CV, and the Flemensfirth gelding can stamp his passport to the Cheltenham Gold Cup with success here.

A Grade One winner over hurdles, he showed himself to be a high-class novice over fences despite taking some time to get his game together over the larger obstacles. He twice found La Bague Au Roi too good on his first two tries over fences, although he might have won on the second occasion at Newbury had he not taken the third-last fence by the roots, and he never recovered from that blunder.

However, he battled well on his next start to deny Defi Du Seuil in the Dipper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham although that rival then bested him in subsequent runs at Sandown and Cheltenham. However, he got back on the winning trail upped to three miles where he beat RSA Chase winner Topofthegame by six lengths; and having faced a straightforward task at Carlisle where he ran out an easy winner, he was well on top of Bristol De Mai in the recent Betfair Chase where he was always jumping well and travelling strongly, and he was value for more than the official winning margin.

He surely has the potential for even better still to come, and he could prove the answer here as he bids to land the second leg of a potential £1million bounty for connections by taking this race before taking a crack at the Gold Cup.

3:05 – Ladbrokes King George VI Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m

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LOSTINTRANSLATION 15 /8
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Lostintranslation (right) will bid to win the second leg of the Stayers £1m Bonus in the King George.

ITV RACING TIPS BOXING DAY THURSDAY 26 DECEMBER – KEMPTON & WETHERBY

1:20 Kempton – DOCTOR DEX (7/1, Ladbrokes)
1:55 Kempton – BLACK OP (3/1, Coral)
2:10 Wetherby – JONNIESOFA (8/1, Paddy Power)
2:30 Kempton – FUSIL RAFFLES (7/4, Ladbrokes)
3:05 Kempton – LOSTINTRANSLATION (15/8, Unibet)

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