Boxing Day racing preview: Minella Indo out to claim King George in festive feature
In amongst eating the Christmas leftovers, there is a glut of action for racing fans to enjoy on Boxing Day from 11 different racecourses across Britain and Ireland.
The festive highlight is at Kempton where there are three Grade One races to enjoy, most notably the King George VI Chase.
The contest has been a brilliant roll of honour which includes legends of the game such as Arkle, Desert Orchid, Wayward Lad, Best Mate and Kauto Star.
This year’s running promises to be an absolute cracker with former winners Frodon and Clan Des Obeaux joined in the line-up by Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Minella Indo.
We have previewed the pick of the action at Kempton and make sure to check out the latest horse racing betting for odds and offers.
King George VI Chase – Minella Indo to be Kempton King
The 2021 King George VI Chase has all the makings of being an absolute classic.
The Henry De Bromhead-trained Minella Indo is bidding to back up his Cheltenham Gold Cup success earlier this year with victory in the festive feature alongside Rachael Blackmore who was voted the BBC World Sport Star at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards earlier this month.
Minella Indo warmed up for this assignment with a very respectable third on his comeback in the Champion Chase at Down Royal where it was clear that he would come on plenty for that effort.
This has been the plan since and connections are hopeful of a bold performance.
The list of dangers include the aforementioned Frodon who forms part of a three-pronged attack for this contest for Paul Nicholls.
Frodon and regular pilot Bryony Frost are attempting to defend their crown in this event, but it looks likely that they will not get an easy lead in this year’s renewal.
Stable companion Clan Des Obeaux is a dual winner of this event and has been kept fresh for this year’s renewal, whilst Saint Calvados has his first run for Nicholls, having finished an eye-catching fourth in the 2020 running.
The Nicky Henderson-trained duo of Chantry House and Mister Fisher were first and second at the Cheltenham Festival last term and are also respected along with recent Ascot winner Lostintranslation.
Willie Mullins is also double-handed with Asterion Forlonge, a faller in the John Durkan Memorial, joined by Tornado Flyer who was fifth in the Grade One at Punchestown.
The former is a very interesting runner, given he was still travelling powerfully when falling and he is deeply respected in this event.
However, preference is for Minella Indo who looks to have all the hallmarks required to win the feature.
Christmas Hurdle – Epatante targets second success in contest
The Nicky Henderson-trained Epatante is the leading player in this event. Successful in 2019, she was second to the much-missed Silver Streak in last year’s renewal. Epatante warmed up for this event with a dead-heat success in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle and should prove tough to beat with Tritonic, winner of the Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot, making a quick reappearance for this event.
Kauto Star Novices’ Chase – Bravemansgame vs Ahoy Senor a race to savour
One of the biggest contests of the day comes in this Grade One event in which unbeaten chaser Bravemansgame takes on Grade One winning hurdler Ahoy Senor. The former is trained by Paul Nicholls and has looked top-class in two easy victories over the larger obstacles this term. However, Ahoy Senor defeated Bravemansgame in Grade One company over hurdles at Aintree last term and impressed when opening his account over fences at Newbury last time out. He is highly regarded by trainer Lucinda Russell and her partner the legendary jockey Peter Scudamore and this event could light up Kempton Park.
ITV Racing selections
1.20pm Kempton – Danny Kirwan
1.55pm Kempton – Bravemansgame
2.10pm Wetherby – Top Ville Ben
2.30pm Kempton – Epatante
3.05pm Kempton – Minella Indo