ITV Racing Boxing Day
Boxing Day is one of the busiest and best racing days on the whole calendar and the highlight is the King George Chase at Kempton. ITV racing will come live in the afternoon with four races from Kempton as well as one graded race from Wetherby in the north. As well as the stars on show in the King George we also have Buveur D’Air running in the Christmas Hurdle as well as a number of exciting youngsters in the Grade One Kauto Star novice chase.
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If you’re a racing fan on Boxing Day, ITV is the place to be for all of the top-quality action, and here is a look at the four graded races that are being shown live on TV.
Kempton 1:55 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
A seven runner race kicks off the graded action on Boxing Day, and five of the runners look as though they could be top class, this should be a great race to watch. Santini heads the field and after looking very good over hurdles last season, he made an excellent start to his chasing campaign at the beginning of December. He was put in at the deep end in a Grade Two on chasing debut but came out on top, and he should improve from that outing which makes him a serious chaser in the making.
However, this isn’t a one-horse race and Bags Groove, Topofthegame, The Worlds End and La Bague Au Roi have all shown form that has earned them a spot in this race. After disappointing at Cheltenham in November, The Worlds End bounced back with a bang there just two weeks ago, turning a competitive race into a procession to win by 26 lengths. The mare La Bague Au Roi has won two races nicely and Bags Groove landed the hat-trick last time out, all pointing to the favourite Santini having a tough task to beat this lot.
The value in this one is with The Worlds End, if he runs here as he did at Cheltenham then he can have a big say in this, and he looks good value against the short-priced favourite Santini.
Wetherby 2:10 Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
The one race from Wetherby on ITV on Boxing Day and I think this will be third time lucky for the Sue Smith-trained Wakanda. We have seen this horse finish second in the race over the last two years, and with the field lacking a real superstar this season, I think this is the year he will strike. This race has been the aim all season, and a pipe-opener at this course over hurdles earlier this month will have put him absolutely spot on for this race, expect him to be 100% ready, and that means he has a huge shout.
Lake View Lad and Captain Chaos are the two likely to chase him home and they reappear again after already being on ITV earlier this month. That was in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle on December 1st, where Lake View Lad won and Captain Chaos came second. Both have gone up in the weights for that, and that may be enough to stop them from taking charge here. If we get a lot of rain and the ground turns heavy then that could bring the strong stayer Baywing into this race, who was down the field in the Rehearsal, although he is likely to need a much tougher test than what we are likely to get here.
Wakanda has gone close twice before but looks to have a great chance of making it third time lucky at the Yorkshire venue this year.
Kempton 2:30 Christmas Hurdle (Grade 1)
This race is all about Buveur D’Air, who is officially 20lbs clear of his nearest rival Verdana Blue on ratings, and even further clear of the rest of the field. He comes here as the back to back Champion hurdle winner and is looking to make it three out of three in March. He won the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle at the beginning of the month looking as good as ever, and it will be a huge upset to see anything other than him winning this one.
Of those in opposition, Verdana Blue is going to get ground that is softer than ideal, which hangs a question mark over her in this one. Both If The Cap Fits and Global Citizen are improving animals and although it was only a handicap that Global Citizen won last time out, he won it nicely and he could be the value to chase home Buveur D’Air. Those wanting a punt in the race may be best to look at a forecast, or betting without Buveur D’Air, and on those markets, it is Global Citizen that looks the best bet to chase the favourite home.
Kempton 3:05 King George VI Chase (Grade 1)
The highlight of the festive period as far as horse racing goes, and this year we look set for a cracker. At the end of November, we had a thrilling five runner Betfair Chase at Haydock and all five horses reoppose here, with another five runners on top, to add even more intrigue and interest to the contest. There is no doubt that this could be one of the best over King George’s we have ever had if every horse runs its race.
Bristol De Mai won at Haydock, but can he confirm form away from his favourite track? Native River was second, Thistlecrack third, Clan Des Obeaux fourth and the favourite for the King George, Might Bite, was actually the last of five that day, with Nicky Henderson blaming the stiff fences for his poor run. Add on top of that Politologue who steps up to three miles after an impressive win over shorter at the Royal Ascot, Waiting Patiently who is unbeaten over fences, former Gold Cup winner Coneygree and two staying stalwarts Double Shuffle and Tea For Two and you have a fantastic race in prospect.
I’m expecting to see more from Might Bite this time around, and the race will suit him around here, while I don’t think this test is enough for Native River. Thistlecrack lost many lengths with poor jumping in the Betfair Chase if he can put in a clean round he goes close, and that is without even mentioning the horse that beat them all last time out, Bristol De Mai. However, it is elsewhere I am looking, and that is to Waiting Patiently for the north. I love this horse, he is a real star in the making and this has been the plan for him for many months. He struggles to handle a lot of racing, but excels when fresh and the step up to three miles for the first time here is going to bring out even more improvement I think.
I would love nothing more than to see this horse win a prize for new trainer Ruth Jefferson, and he is the one I am with, in the feature race on Boxing Day.
Boxing Day Horse Racing Betting Offers
Punters who are looking to get stuck in on Boxing Day as they relax after a busy Christmas Day can take advantage of the many horse racing offers that are available with online bookmakers, here are a few to choose from.
BetVictor – Bet £5, Get £30 Horse Racing Welcome Offer
Horse racing fans who are looking to open a new account over Christmas should check out the horse racing welcome offer that BetVictor are running. To gain this offer, simply open an account with them and place a £5 bet on any horse race at evens or greater. After you have done this you will receive a total of £30 in bonus funds, paid out as three £10 bets. The first is to be used on any horse race at odds of evens or greater, the second is to be used on any other sport at evens or greater and the third is £10 in casino funds to spend inside the BetVictor casino.
If you are looking for a new account this festive period, the BetVictor horse racing welcome offer is a great offer for racing fans to take advantage of.
Betfred – One Winner /All Winner Bonus on Lucky Bets
If you like to place multiple bets on horse racing then you should always go to get the best offer on them, and for horse racing that is with Betfred. They will pay you 3x the odds for one winner on a lucky 15, 4x the odds for one on a lucky 31 and 5x the odds for one on a lucky 63. On top of this, should you back all winners in these bets, you will receive a percentage bonus on top of your regular winnings, making this an even better offer. You will receive a 10% bonus on lucky 15s, 20% on lucky 31s and 25% on lucky 63s, so if you win big then you are going to win even bigger thanks to Betfred this Christmas period.