Boxing Day Tips
Last Updated: 26/12/18 2:51pm
David Clough takes Politologue to win the 32Red King George VI Chase and he has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.
There are plenty of question marks over every participant in an intriguing 32Red King George VI Chase - and it may pay to side with Politologue to lower some lofty colours.
John Hales' grey has plenty to prove himself, of course, when it comes to the necessary stamina for his first attempt at three miles.
There are no such doubts on that score at least for favourite Might Bite or Native River - who served up a race for the ages in last season's Cheltenham Gold Cup.
That was then and this is now, though - and more significantly perhaps, that was there and this is here.
Winners need to stay at Kempton on Boxing Day, too, but not as thoroughly as over a quarter-mile further at Cheltenham.
For that reason, Native River's grinding tactics may secure him only an honourable place, while Might Bite's inexplicably bad tangle with the Haydock fences on his reappearance in last month's Betfair Chase makes it a leap of faith to expect him to reproduce his best.
It is also worth remembering that last year's King George winner took a horrific fall when he had the Grade One novice sewn up here a year earlier.
There is more sense perhaps in supporting the claims of emphatic Betfair winner Bristol De Mai to follow up.
Nigel Twiston-Davies' front-running grey has frequently failed to do that in the past, however, and it is more likely he will revert to the habits of a lifetime.
Politologue is arguably not as talented as any of the above - or for that matter, fragile northerner Waiting Patiently, returning hero Thistlecrack or the even more injury-plagued former Gold Cup winner Coneygree.
But after hinting at stamina reserves over shorter trips in his back-to-back wins over two very speedy horses at Aintree in April and then on his return at Ascot last month, Politologue presents a persuasive case.
It may just be that this Christmas at Kempton turns out to be his time and his place for Hales and master trainer Paul Nicholls.
Many believe a champion in waiting will be taking centre stage an hour or so earlier, when Nicky Henderson's brutish beauty Santini runs for just the second time over fences in the 32Red Kauto Star Novices' Chase.
Santini demanded and held the attention through his highly-successful novice hurdle campaign last season, not least because the winning point-to-pointer's physique was screaming 'future chaser'.
To no one's surprise, the six-year-old proved that was the case when he opened his account at the first attempt at Newbury this month by interrupting the winning run of Rocky's Treasure - who has since gone on to set a new track record time in victory at Doncaster.
Santini almost certainly has it all, but if there is one concern it is whether this sharp circuit will play to his abundant strengths and for that reason, it is worth taking him on with Bags Groove.
Harry Fry's gelding has been increasingly convincing in three chase wins this season, the last twice at courses which closely resemble Kempton, and he may be a better immediate fit here than Santini is.
The same rationale points to a big run, although probably in defeat against Henderson's dual champion Buveur D'Air, from Global Citizen in the Unibet Christmas Hurdle.
Ben Pauling's six-year-old defied unsuitable conditions to win at Newbury this month, but put up his best performance so far when winning the Grade Two Dovecote Novices' Hurdle here.
No one will get much richer very quickly backing the unopposable Buveur D'Air, but it is highly likely Global Citizen will give him most to do.
There are 10 meetings in Britain and Ireland away from Kempton on Boxing Day, and plenty to learn from them.
Grand National aspirations will be emboldened or otherwise in Wetherby's racingtv.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase.
Most are higher profile than Allysson Monterg, but that may not be the case much longer if Richard Hobson's Ladbrokes Trophy also-ran can take advantage of his 2lb ratings drop in this slightly more winnable contest.
Another stayer with potential at a lesser level is Ian Williams' Zerachiel who, after unseating at the first on his seasonal return in the Scottish Borders National, tries his hand at another regional edition in the Clugston Lincolnshire National Handicap Chase at Market Rasen.
The eight-year-old is handicapped to run well if avoiding errors.
Ireland stages two Grade One novice chases.
Like Santini at Kempton, Mengli Khan will entrance many with his physical presence in the Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown.
But that will not win him the race on its own, and Voix Du Reve has impressed in his two chase starts to date, most recently in a Grade Two event at Punchestown last month.
At Limerick, the workmanlike Jetz will not set hearts racing either in the Matchbook Betting Exchange Novice Chase, but he has the form in the book to trouble likely warm favourite Getabird.
DOWN ROYAL: 12.00 Getaway Kid, 12.30 Ticket To Ride, 1.00 Stand Up And Fight, 1.35 Sinoria, 2.10 Generalisation, 2.45 British Art, 3.20 Valdieu.
FONTWELL: 12.15 Robinesse, 12.45 Yamuna River, 1.15 Coole Well, 1.50 Chivers, 2.25 Ardmayle, 3.00 Lizzie Langton, 3.35 Seaweed.
HUNTINGDON: 12.05 Strong Resemblance, 12.35 Legal Eyes, 1.05 Midnight Bliss, 1.40 Kingston, 2.15 Well Smitten, 2.50 General Bux, 3.25 Rintulla.
KEMPTON: 12.50 Didtheyleaveuoutto, 1.20 Dell Oro, 1.55 BAGS GROOVE (NAP), 2.30 Buveur D'Air, 3.05 Politologue, 3.40 Stowaway Magic.
LEOPARDSTOWN: 12.10 Entoucas, 12.40 Dallas Des Pictons, 1.10 Coeur Sublime, 1.45 Warnaq, 2.20 Voix Du Reve, 2.55 Arcenfete, 3.30 Allaho.
LIMERICK: 12.20 Great Vizier, 12.50 Inca Gold, 1.25 Deal With It, 2.00 Jetz, 2.35 Pat's Oscar, 3.10 Seskin Flyer, 3.45 Eileen O.
MARKET RASEN: 12.10 Let's Sway, 12.40 Imperial Knight, 1.10 Savello, 1.45 Miles To Milan, 2.20 Zerachiel, 2.55 Du Destin, 3.30 Oregon Gold.
SEDGEFIELD: 11.55 Strike West, 12.25 Skipping On, 12.55 Roxyfet, 1.30 Lord Yeats, 2.05 Imperial Focus, 2.40 Virnon, 3.15 Dares To Dream.
WETHERBY: 12.00 Mega Yeats, 12.30 Another Day Done, 1.00 Putting Green, 1.35 Willie Boy, 2.10 Allysson Monterg, 2.45 Neachells Bridge, 3.20 Snougar.
WINCANTON: 12.20 Everlanes, 12.55 Posh Trish, 1.25 Black Mischief, 2.00 Perform, 2.35 Bally Longford, 3.10 Kupatana, 3.45 Hugos Other Horse.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 1.05 De Little Engine, 1.40 Final Attack, 2.15 Mossy's Lodge, 2.50 Nonios, 3.25 Francophilia, 3.55 Gulliver, 4.25 Flaunt It, 4.55 Klass Action.
DOUBLE: Bags Groove and Politologue.