Seymour Biz previews the upcoming feature racings on terrestrial TV and gives us his lucky 15 bet of the day. Find all previous Seymour Biz racing previews in his weekly column: Saturday Horse Racing Tips.
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Thank goodness the icy snap seems to be over and jump racing has returned to the scene in time for Boxing Day and the New Year’s Day cards, and I have had a quick look at some of the top-class races on the first two days after Christmas.
The big meeting on Boxing Day is of course at Kempton and as something of a bonus the Long Walk Hurdle which has been rerouted from Ascot after their pre-Christmas meeting was called off due to a frozen track. Nicky Henderson’s Champ won this last year at Ascot and he returns for another crack at it. He made all to win at Newbury last month and will take all the pegging back.
Just a neck behind him in that Newbury race was Emma Lavelle’s Paisley Park who won this in 2018 and 2020 and although he is now a 10-year-old he is still a force to be reckoned with.
I think the jury is still out over Gary Moore’s Goshen even though he has won half of his 14 hurdle races. He won at Ascot in November and I get the impression he would have preferred to run this race at the Esher course, a track he prefers.
Moore has another runner declared, the ultra-consistent BOTOX HAS, who fought back to grab second at Cheltenham in October then went to Haydock the following month and won the Stayer’s Hurdle going away and he is my fancy here.
The big race of the day, the King George VI Chase, is on the same card and Paul Nicholls has the favourite with Bravemansgame, and except for the blip at Aintree in April, he has been carrying all before him. He has started this season with a win in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in October and will probably take all the stopping.
But Nicholls also has Hitman who won the Graduation Chase at Haydock last month but he is only a 6-year-old. His time is still to come.
Nicholls also has a runner at the other end of the age spectrum, the enigmatic 10-year-old Frodon, who returns to the scene of his greatest triumph when he won this race in 2020. He shows he still has the ability by winning the Badger Beer Handicap in early November but this race may be too much for him.
Henry de Bromhead sends over Envoi Allen who won the Champion Chase at Down Royal last month beating some of the top Irish chasers, but will he cope with Kempton?
Venetia Williams’s stable is bang in form and L’HOMME PRESSE is my selection after the manner he won the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle last month. After being headed twice he fought back to win comfortably, those are the fighting qualities he needs here.
On Tuesday, it is the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow and Venetia Williams’s Quick Wave is one of the favourites here after winning the London National at Sandown earlier this month but that didn’t look like a very strong race.
Secret Reprieve won this for trainer Evan Williams in 2020 and had a prep run here this month over a distance which didn’t suit where he ran second. He can go close once again.
David Pipe’s Gericault Roque is a better horse than his form would suggest. His fine third last time at Newbury can be improved on.
But I prefer Paul Nicholls’s THREEUNDERTHRUFIVE who was fancied at Newbury last time but unshipped his rider at the first fence. He still ran gamely after and can gain recompense here.
So those are my thoughts for next week’s races. It only remains for me to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year, have a good one.