Christmas Hurdle (1.55pm) betting
Christmas Hurdle (1.55pm) preview
Few jumpers in recent decades have progressed so far or so swiftly as Constitution Hill and he will make the fifth start of his career as the clear ante-post favourite for the Champion Hurdle in March. Epatante, his stable companion, is second-favourite but she was swept aside in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle and it should be much the same story again here.
Rowland Meyrick Chase (1.35pm) result
1 Into Overdrive 4/1
2 Sounds Russian 13/2
3 Fanion D’estruval 15/2
4 Aye Right 33/1
Rowland Meyrick Chase (1.35pm)
And they’re off … Into Overdrive has the lead as they have a circuit to go with Shan Blue under pressure and at the back … Zanza is not going well at all and Shan Blue has now been pulled up … Aye Right is up with the leader now … Top Ville Ben is in third … Into Overdrive kicks for home … now clear of Aye Right … Sounds Russian is closing and is challenging … but Into Overdrive just holds on.
Rowland Meyrick Chase (1.35pm) betting
Shan Blue 5/2
Into Overdrive 4/1
Sounds Russian 15/2
Chantry House 17/2
Fanion Destruval 9/1
Sporting John 11/1
Windsor Avenue 25/1
Aye Right 33/1
Rowland Meyrick Chase (1.35pm) preview
A potential boost for L’Homme Presse’s form ahead of the King George as Into Overdrive finished four lengths behind him in the Rehearsal Chase and should be a big player in this valuable handicap off just a 4lb higher mark.
Kauto Star Novice Chase (1.20pm) result
1st Thyme Hill 11/2
2nd McFabulous 7/4f
3rd Mortlach 40/1
Kauto Star Novice Chase (1.20pm)
And they’re off … Galia Des Liteaux has made a mistake at trhe second fence and McFabulous leads in the early stages … Gellino Bello is none too clever at a jump in the back straight … McFabulous still has the lead with a circuit to go but the five runners are in close contention … Galia Des Liteaux is a close second with Thyme Hill at the rear of the quintet … Mortlach is driven to take closer order … Galia Des Liteaux has pulled up and Gellino Bello falls … McFabulous and Thyme Hill will fight it out … with Thyme Hill going clear and winning easily.
Kauto Star Novice Chase (1.20pm) betting
Kauto Star Novice Chase (1.20pm) preview
The time of Galia Des Liteaux’s debut chase success at Bangor last month was very strong and he could be much too big at around 4-1 against his more exposed market rival, McFabulous.
Long Walk Hurdle (12.45pm) result
1 Paisley Park 9-2
2 Goshen 100-30
3 Champ 7-4fav
Long Walk Hurdle (12.45pm)
They’re off … Champ has the early lead from Not So Sleepy … all five runners are bunched up in the early part of the race … Champ still leads as they go past the finishing post with a circuit to go … Miranda is being niggled a little but all the other four runners travel ok … Miranda moves up to second with Not So Sleepy being driven along …Miranda and Paisley Park being pushed along … Goshen travels well … Champ leads from Goshen with Paisley Park fighting on … all three take the last together with Paisley Park kicking clear for a third win in the Long Walk!
Long Walk Hurdle (12.45pm) betting
Long Walk Hurdle (12.45pm) preview
There was little too choose between the veterans Champ and Paisley Park at Newbury last month but the switch of this race from Ascot to the easier circuit at Kempton could just tip the balance towards Nicky Henderson’s runner as Paisley Park generally puts in his strongest work at the finish.
The King George is one of the most prestigious jumps races in the calendar with a roll-call of greats among its history of winners. There is one runner today at Kempton which could prove an all-time great to rank with the likes of Arkle, Desert Orchid and Kauto Star, all truly outstanding King George winners, That’s the Nicky Henderson-trained Constitution Hill, who lines up in the Christmas Hurdle at 1.55pm, and has just arrived at the track.
A spokesperson for BestofBets.com pointed out that “Henderson’s Buveur d’Air was beaten a short head at 1-4 by stablemate Verdana Blue when bidding to follow up in 2018, while in between her two wins, Epatante from the same yard was turned over at odds of 1-5 in 2020” but if the new kid on the block is beaten today it ewill be the biggest shock for many a year. Watch this superb analysis by Jamie Lynch of the horse’s most-recent win.
All set fair for a great day’s racing at Kempton Park with the going officially ‘soft’ and no non-runners to report as yet.
Good morning from sunny Sunbury-on-Thames, where a boisterous Bank Holiday crowd is assembling at Kempton Park for the King George VI Chase, one of the traditional highlights of the racing year.
Nine runners are due to go to post for the big race at 2.30, on ground that is officially soft, and there is also a big Christmas bonus for racegoers on this year’s card as Constitution Hill, the best young hurdler for several decades at least, heads a five-strong field for the Christmas Hurdle at 1.55.
The race will probably be the Constitution Hill’s final run before the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March and fans will be hoping to see something akin to his 22-length romp in the Supreme Novice Hurdle at last season’s Festival meeting, or at the very least, his hard-held 12-length defeat of Epatante – who is back in against him today – at Newcastle in November.
They will not be covering too much of the festive expenses at his likely odds of around 1-9, however, and so an intriguing and open renewal of the King George will be the focus of most punters’ thoughts.
L’Homme Presse, who won a Grade One novice chase at last season’s Cheltenham Festival, has emerged as a narrow favourite this morning ahead of Bravemansgame, who was fancied for the same race at the Festival but scratched on the day due to the rain-softened ground. You can read my big-race preview along with the other TV races here.
There has also been money, though, for another of last season’s better novices, Ahoy Senor, who is down to around 12-1, from 16-1, to give Lucinda Russell a first ever success in the race. Ahoy Senor had both L’Homme Presse and Bravemansgame a long way behind him in the Grade One Mildmay Novice Chase at Aintree in April but his jumping has let him down badly several times in the past and he will need to hold it all together in the closing stages to stand any chance of keeping them at bay again today.
Elsewhere in the field, Envoi Allen is bound to attract plenty of support to give Rachael Blackmore a first King George VI Chase, which would also mean that jumping’s most successful female jockey would join Ruby Walsh, Tony McCoy and Barry Geraghty as a winner of the Champion Hurdle, Gold Cup, Grand National and King George, having completed the set in a little less than two years.
With Hitman running for an ownership syndicate which includes Sir Alex Ferguson, the former Manchester United manager, and the ever-popular Frodon and Bryony Frost attempting to repeat their surprise success in this race two years ago, there’s something for everyone in the big-race field and the excitement will build from 12.10, when the meeting gets underway with what is generally one of the better novice hurdles in the early part of the season.
Kempton is one of eight tracks racing today, and you can follow all the action, from Wetherby to Wincanton and all points in between, here on the live blog as one of the busiest and most eagerly awaited days of the racing year unfolds.