Kempton - December 26 2021
Kempton 13:20
Harry Cobden

Danny Kirwan

Harry Cobden
Paul Nicholls
Age: 8
Weight: 11-2
OR: 133
Days: 65

A very competitive event on the card is the Class 3 Handicap Chase over 2m 4 1/2f and we are siding with the Paul Nicholls trained Danny Kirwan.

The eight year old looks to be very well handicapped off a mark of 133 coming into this event, having been a fair hurdler and looked to take to chasing well in October.

On his final start last term the gelding landed the second victory of his career over hurdles when taking out a Novices' Hurdle at Wincanton over 2m5f.

Switched to the bigger obstacles this term he was seen getting better and better the further the race went on and ultimately he finished a three lengths second to a next time out winner in Annual Invictus.

Not raised by the handicapper for that win he looks to have a big chance here at the weights, especially having won at the track before and now having his second run after a wind op, he should improve.

Big player.

Kempton - December 26 2021
Kempton 13:55
Derek Fox

Ahoy Senor

Derek Fox
Lucinda Russell
Age: 6
Weight: 11-7
OR: 157

The first big race of the day at Kempton is the Grade One Kauto Star Novices' Chase over three miles and although Paul Nicholls has a great record in the race we feel that Ahoy Senor is the superior animal at this trip.

The Lucinda Russell trained animal has only been seen five times under rules during his career, with his unexposed nature being a big helping hand in this event.

Starting his career off in a point to point at Didmarton when unseating his rider, he quickly rectified that in his final P2P at Kimble when a very easy winner.

Bought for £50,000 and given to Russell, he was seen making his bumper debut in January of this year, finishing a good second at Ayr over two miles.

Back at the same track but this time over fences, he got off the mark in style enjoying the step up in trip to 2m4f.

He finished off his hurdling campaign with a career best effort when stepping up to three miles for the first time under rules and going on to beat Bravemansgame at Aintree in the Grade One Sefton Novices' Hurdler.

Saved for fences off the back of that superb performance, he travelled lovely on chase debut at Carlisle but unfortunately unseated his rider.

Learning from that experience, last time out he was seen bolting up by 31 lengths in the Grade Two John Francome Novices Chase over 2m7f, clocking a superb time.

He looks a superstar stayer at this distance and having beaten Bravemansgame before he looks the value in this four runner affair.

Wetherby - December 26 2021
Wetherby 14:10
Nathan Moscrop

Windsor Avenue

Nathan Moscrop
Brian Ellison
Age: 9
Weight: 11-7
OR: 145
Days: 46

The only race of the day on ITV from Wetherby is the Grade Three Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase over three miles and the horse we think has a big each way chance is the Brian Ellison trained Windsor Avenue.

This nine year old started his chasing career off with a bang two seasons ago, winning his first two races in emphatic style at Sedgefield and Carlisle.

Stepped into better company that season he slightly struggled and Ellison pulled up stumps in January.

Back last term in November he was a good second on seasonal debut behind Imperial Aura at Carlisle in a Listed event, but then couldn't back that up at Cheltenham in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup.

With a very up and down profile he then finished a good third of eight over course and distance at Wetherby behind two smart rivals in Canelo and Snow Leopardess.

He then rounded off the season back over shorter trips and they both did not suit, with Ellison establishing three miles is now his trip.

This season he made his debut over todays trip at Bangor in a good handicap chase and he finished a close second behind Snow Leopardess once more.

He is sure to build on that run and the winner of that event has since gone on to take the prestigious Becher Chase and that form looks very good.

Windsor Avenue has gone up 2lb for his seasonal debut but now has handy 3lb claimer Nathan Moscrop offsetting that.

Big chance.

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


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

The next Grade One event on the card is the two mile Christmas Hurdle 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 11 times since coming to England under the Seven Barrows handler and has gone on to land seven of her races, including four 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.

Kempton - December 26 2021
Kempton 15:05
Rachael Blackmore

Minella Indo

Rachael Blackmore
Henry De Bromhead
Age: 8
Weight: 11-10
OR: 175

The final Grade One of the afternoon is the feature King George VI Chase and this year we think it will go the way of Ireland with Gold Cup winner Minella Indo primed to go close for Henry De Bromhead.

The eight year old has raced 15 times during his career and has only finished outside the top three on two occasions.

Three seasons ago on his final two starts over hurdles he really came to life landing the Grade One Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham festival at a huge price of 50/1 and then backed that up at the Punchestown festival when landing another classy Grade One.

He went novice chasing and after running well on debut behind star mare Laurina, he landed a Beginners Chase at Navan before narrowly being beaten in the RSA Novices' Chase at the festival, With Champ pipping him on the line.

Coming out of novice company last term he started his season off at Wexford at the back end of October in the Grade Three Memorial Chase where he jumped the field into submission, going on to win the event by 25 lengths.

Having again put up another superb performance at Navan when beating Brahma Bull by close to eight lengths, his handler sent him to Leopardstown at Christmas in the Grade One Savills Chase.

Going off as favourite, many were looking for the gelding to put up a big run, but were left wanting more after falling for the first time in his career with a circuit to go.

He was then seen returning to some sort of form by finishing his race, but overall he was outclassed in the Irish Gold Cup behind Kemboy finishing a well beaten fourth.

This saw his price drift for the Cheltenham Gold Cup but under a masterful ride by Jack Kennedy he bounced back to form in a big way to land the Grade One feature.

Making his seasonal debut this term he had a good pipe opener in the Grade Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal, when just being edged out by a much fitter, Frodon and Galvin.

That run would have set him up perfectly for this event and being the highest rated horse in the race, class should prevail.


James Mackie | @JMackieRacing