Horse racing returns from a short festive break with a scintillating six-race card at Kempton, which is headlined by the much-anticipated 71st running of the King George VI Chase. Will Paul Nicholls win the race again with Clan Des Obeaux or Frodon?
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Racing Post tipster Tom Collins previews Sunday’s action at Kempton for MansionBet.
12.45 Kempton – Play Ladbrokes 5-A-Side On Football Novices’ Hurdle
Nicky Henderson has won this opening 2m novices’ hurdle with the likes of Altior (2015) and Mister Fisher (2018) in recent years and will have similarly high aspirations for Broomfield Burg, who looks to make amends for two runner-up finishes this term. The JP McManus-owned five-year-old has been undone by racing keenly in the early stages of his races, but boasts unlimited potential and should be suited by the flat track at Kempton.
Selection: Broomfield Burg
1.20 Kempton – Get Your Ladbrokes £1 Free Bet Today Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase
The 2m4f novices’ handicap chase at Cheltenham’s Showcase meeting is working out extremely well with winner Annual Invictus, fourth-home Faivoir and fifth-placed finisher Back On The Lash all scoring in the last couple of months. Now it’s Danny Kirwen’s turn to enhance the form. This lightly raced chaser shaped with great promise despite being unfavoured by the left-handed track, and should improve for the switch back to Kempton. Further progression is expected on his second start after a wind operation.
Selection: Danny Kirwen
1.55 Kempton – Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase
A disappointing turnout of just four runners will line-up in the Kauto Star, and it looks likely to be a match race between Ahoy Senor and Bravemansgame. The pair met at Aintree in the spring and Ahoy Senor got the better of his Paul Nicholls-trained rival, but the topography of Kempton is fancied to better suit Bravemansgame and it would be no surprise if this star jumper reversed the form.
2.30 Kempton – Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle
Epatante, who won this race in 2019, is back to make amends for her 1-5 shocking defeat at the hands of the ill-fated Silver Streak 12 months ago. Once again, there won’t be any juice in her price and that factor alone is enough to put me off given her regressive form since winning the 2020 Fighting Fifth. Preference is for Not So Sleepy, who would have beaten Epatante at Newcastle last time if he didn’t make a mess of the second-last hurdle.
Selection: Not So Sleepy
3.05 Kempton – Ladbrokes King George VI Chase
This year’s running of the King George shapes up to be a thriller with former winners Clan Des Obeaux and Frodon heading the betting for trainer Paul Nicholls. Given Irish dominance in jumps racing over the last two years, Gold Cup winner Minella Indo and the highly talented Asterion Forlonge aren’t easily overlooked, but preference is for Chantry House. He dominated the novice chase division last term and made no mistakes in a match race on his return to action. His inexperience isn’t enough to put me off.
Selection: Chantry House
3.40 Kempton – Ladbrokes We Play Together Handicap Hurdle
Following course specialists is a profitable ploy at Kempton, so look no further than Ecco in the finale. Three of his four best RPRs have come at the Sunbury venue and he went down fighting to a well-handicapped rival in this race last year off a mark of 131. Following a quiet reappearance at Bangor on his first start following wind surgery, Ecco is back down to an identical mark and might have been overlooked in the market.
*All odds correct at time of writing