Who To Follow At Kempton On Boxing Day - 26/12/21

Kempton - December 26 2021
Kempton 14:30
Nico de Boinville


Nico de Boinville
Nicky Henderson
Age: 7
Weight: 11-0
OR: 153

The Grade One two mile Christmas Hurdle is always a cracker and although well beaten in the event last term, we are hoping Epatante can regain her crown this year.

The JP McManus owned superstar has been seen 10 times since coming to England under the Seven Barrows handler and has gone on to land six of her races, including three Grade One events.

Two seasons ago the British raider started off in the Gerry Feilden Intermediate Hurdle at Newbury and then on her final start before Cheltenham landing the Grade One Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day.

This set her up perfectly for the Champion Hurdle when going off favourite and under a cool ride by Barry Geraghty went on to land the prestigious event with ease.

She was the mare to beat in the two mile hurdling division heading into last season and cemented that thought on seasonal debut when landing the Grade One Fighting Fifth, never coming off the Bridle.

However, from there her season went downhill, being dethroned by Silver Streak in the Grade One Christmas Hurdle and then being well beaten into third in her title defence of the Champion Hurdle.

She was last seen in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle, again finishing third behind Honeysuckle and Sharjah.

The seven year old this season is looking to get back to the top of the division and she made the first step to doing that when finishing in a dead heat with Not So Sleepy in the Grade One Fighting Fifth.

She is sure to improve for that run and looks the one to beat with the allowance.


Trainer To Follow - Paul Nicholls

Paul Nicholls heads to Kempton for one of his strongest Boxing Day teams in a while with some strong challengers in most of the races and for that reason he is worth following.

In the first race of the day he fields the likeable Paso Doble who was a nice winner last time at Taunton and although giving weight away today could go close.

In the next he gives Danny Kirwan his second spin over fences and if building from his debut at Cheltenham is weighted to go close.

In the first Grade One of the day he fields his superstar Bravemansgame who looks to have a match race against Ahoy Senor, but just has the edge in the betting.

In the King George VI Chase he fields three runners who are all in with a shout, two time winner Clan Des Obeaux, last year's winner Frodon and recent new recruit Saint Calvados.

Nicholls heads into the meeting sporting a 17% strike rate for the last two weeks, managing to land six winners from his last 36 runners.

Jockey To Follow - Nico De Boinville

It could be a really special day for Nicky Henderson's number one rider Nico de Boinville, who has some lively chances near the top of the betting in most races.

In the first race of the day he sits on the likeable Broomfield Burg who drops back into novice company looking to go one better than last time.

He has a big chance in the next with the gutsy stayer Bothwell Bridge who is looking for successive wins over fences.

One of de Boinville's best rides of the day comes in the Grade One Christmas Hurdle where Epatante is looking to take her crown back and has a big chance too.

In the feature King George VI Chase, the rider sits on the likeable Chantry House who is making his seasonal debut but can't be overlooked.

And in the finale, the well weighted Heross Du Seuil will be looking to make the most of his attractive handicap mark.

De Boinville heads into the Boxing Day meeting with a 17% strike rate for the last two weeks with four wins from his last 24 rides.

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing