ITV Racing Tips: Wham, bam thank you Clan in the Ladbrokes King George?
The ITV cameras will be at Wetherby and Kempton on Boxing Day as Clan Des Obeaux bids to emulate Kauto Star and Desert Orchid by winning a historic third successive Ladbrokes King George.
It’s the main attraction on a star-studded afternoon of festive racing which also includes Epatante’s second run of the season in the Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle, plus the Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase.
Ed Chamberlin and co. get the action underway at the slightly earlier time of 13:15, and we’ve previewed the three most significant races of the day in our ITV Racing Tips.
15:00 Kempton – Ladbrokes King George
Irish runners have been shut-out from the 2020 edition of the Ladbrokes King George, but Clan Des Obeaux will still face a talented field of eight as he attempts to make it three-in-a-row at Kempton.
Paul Nicholls’ inmate edged out Thistlecrack to claim his first crown in 2018 before following up in 2019 with a 21l demolition job of Cyrname in a five-runner race which failed to live up to expectation.
The eight-year-old enjoyed a spot-on prep when finishing a good second to Haydock specialist Bristol De Mai amid appalling conditions in the Betfair Chase last month, and he’ll take all the beating here.
Cyrname is the one who is most fancied to lay down a challenge following an excellent comeback win in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby, and he’s even more attractive when you consider the context of his defeat in this race 12 months ago.
Clan Des Obeaux’s stablemate came into the contest off the back of a right set two with Altior in the Christy 1965 Chase, which almost certainly pulled too much out of him ahead of a big race like the King George. He’s enjoyed a much more straightforward prep this time around and is a more enticing prospect as a result.
Elsewhere, Santini’s supplementary inclusion raised a few eyebrows on Tuesday, and a reproduction of his stellar runner-up effort from the Gold Cup would see him go close. It would be unwise to write off Lostintranslation too, with the bottomless Haydock ground contributing to his no-show in the Betfair Chase.
Colin Tizzard’s horses haven’t been running as well as they might’ve been of late, but Lostintranslation jumps like a dream and travelled like the best horse in the race for a long way in the Gold Cup. If he produces anything near his best around Kempton, then his price could end up looking like a steal by the time they reach the finishing post.
14:25 Kempton – Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle
Epatante won with ease on her seasonal reappearance in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle and Nicky Henderson’s Champion Hurdle winner is odds-on to make it two from two in the Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle.
The six-year-old won this race at a canter 12 months ago before going onto score at the Festival, and plenty of pundits and fans alike will be expecting a similar outcome this time around in a sub-par renewal.
Silver Streak is the only real rival to the champion in a disappointing five-runner field, but even then, the Evan Williams-trained runner has been soundly beaten in all of his previous starts against the jolly.
Adam Wedge’s mount is the obvious each-way angle in a race that should end up being a question of how many lengths Epatante wins by, rather than if he’ll win at all.
13:50 Kempton – Kauto Star Novices’ Chase
The likes of Long Run, Coneygree and Tea For Two have won the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase in the recent past, and this year’s it’s top prospects Shan Blue and The Big Breakaway who are disputing favouritism.
The former is two from two this term after a pair of wide-margin wins at Wetherby, the most recent of which saw the runner-up, who finished 16l behind Shan Blue, subsequently win a decent Haydock handicap.
That looks a decent piece of form in the context, but it might not be enough to see him beat The Big Breakaway, who looked mightily impressive over 3m at Exeter on his seasonal debut in November.
A spin over 2m 3f earlier this month should’ve put him spot on for this, and it looks as though the front two in the market will be battling it out alongside third-favourite If The Cap Fits.
Harry Fry’s inmate has taken well to chasing and followed up his win at Ffos Las with a good runner-up berth in a Listed contest behind the likeable Pym in a Listed Chase at Sandown.
Both of those contests were three-runner races, so he’ll have to prove he can mix it over fences in a bigger field, but he certainly shouldn’t be discounted at the prices. Enrilo and Kalooki are both each-way alternatives.
ITV Racing Schedule, Saturday 26th December
13:15 Kempton – Play Ladbrokes 5-A-Side On Football Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase
13:50 Kempton – Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase
14:05 Wetherby – Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase
14:25 Kempton – Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle
15:00 Kempton – Ladbrokes King George VI Chase
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing