Racing fans are spoiled at this time of year with 11 meetings taking place across Britain and Ireland on Boxing Day.
While there is top-quality action wherever you look, the highlight has to be the King George VI Chase at Kempton.
You just have to look back on the past winners with the likes of Kauto Star, Cue Card and Long Run have taken the prestigious Grade One in recent years and even though this year’s race might not have an obvious superstar, it’s looks set to be a thrilling contest.
Our racing expert is here with his best horse racing bets for the Kempton spectacular.
Might Bite makes back-to-back bid
The obvious starting point is last year’s winner Might Bite, who despite being a four-time Grade One winner over fences, is on somewhat of a recovery mission after an abject seasonal reappearance in the Betfair Chase at Haydock.
There’s no denying Nicky Henderson’s charge is a massive player here and while the form of his win in the race 12 months ago is nothing to write home about, you always felt Nico De Boinville had plenty left in the tank.
He was beaten 29 lengths at Haydock and I can’t get away from the way he faded so quickly there. He’s also just 10/3 with Grosvenorsport.com and that looks pretty short based on that Haydock effort. He’s probably the rightful favourite, but he’s not my idea of the likely winner.
In contrast to Might Bight’s poor run at Haydock, Bristol De Mai (15/2) was brilliant as he took the race for a second consecutive year. The seven-year-old probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves mainly because he seems to be a considerably better horse there than at any other racecourse.
A perfect example being last year when he won at Haydock before being beaten 26 lengths in this race. He has to enter calculations on his reappearance run and I actually fancy him more than Might Bite.
He was always regarded as a soft-ground horse, but he dispelled those fears last time and while I don’t think he’ll win, he definitely enters place calculations and he wouldn’t be the worst bet each-way with Grosvenorsport.com.
Waiting Patiently runs well fresh
Native River is another solid contender but I’m not sure the track will suit based on his only previous effort at Kempton, while there have to be massive stamina doubts over Politologue.
Instead, my idea of the winner is Waiting Patiently for Ruth Jefferson at 5/1. Having taken over training the seven-year-old from her late father Malcolm, Ruth and her team have taken every precaution with the horse and this will be just his third run of 2018. He was last seen when winning the Grade One Ascot Chase in February where he cruised past Cue Card during the final furlong suggesting this step up to three miles would be more than within his capabilities.
There’s no getting away from it, this is a massive task for a seasonal reappearance, but he has an excellent record fresh and the Jefferson team wouldn’t be pitching him in here unless they thought he was capable of mixing it with the big boys.
The ground should be ideal for him and I think he can make it seven out of seven over fences and give the Jefferson yard a very poignant winner.
Coneygree to defy the odds
I’m also going to throw a few quid each-way on Coneygree at a crazy 33/1. Mark Bradstock’s 11-year-old’s career has been blighted by injuries, but don’t forget this horse is a former Gold Cup winner and won the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton in 2014. Of course this is a massive ask, but he looks a massive price based on those previous efforts and his reappearance run at Cheltenham was very encouraging.