MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!
For punters Christmas is, of course, all about the King George at Kempton, and once again the feature takes centre stage in a show on the main ITV channel that features at splash of Wetherby as well.
Let’s get straight to it, and the 1.20pm is a limited novices’ handicap chase over an extended 2m4f.
Matt Chapman is the face of racing on ITV – and is here to pick you a winner
MISTER WHITAKER is a real improver for Mick Channon, and hacked up last time having run well at Fontwell on his previous start. He could be hard to keep out the frame.
It’s the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase over 3m at 1.55pm. This is wide open, and I like the look of BALLYOPTIC, who stays very strong.
I’m not sure he was at his best when beaten by Black Corton last time and he can reverse that form for Nigel Twiston-Davies.
Not much to say about the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle over 2m at 2.30pm. Reigning champion hurdler Buveur d’Air should win for Nicky Henderson and The New One should finish second. Easy.
Matt Chapman’s TV tips
1.20 Kempton – MISTER WHITAKER: ‘A real improver and hacked up last time, could be hard to keep out the frame’ (add to your betslip)
1.55 Kempton – BALLYOPTIC: ‘Stays very strong and can reverese the form with Black Corton’ (add to your betslip)
2.10 Wetherby – WAKANDA: ‘I expect him to be at least in the first three here’ (add to your betslip)
2.30 Kempton – BUVEUR D’AIR: ‘Reigning champion hurdler and should win easy’ (add to your betslip)
3.05 Kempton – MIGHT BITE: ‘Should have most of the field beaten by halfway!’ (add to your betslip)
The main event – the King George – is at 3.05pm and amazingly MIGHT BITE is one of the lowest rated horses in the Grade 1, but should have most of the field beaten by halfway.
I don’t envisage a danger, unless Thistlecrack comes right back to his best. Might Bite the selection for Nicky Henderson, who won the King George twice with Long Run.
Over at Wetherby, ITV show the Grade 3 Rowland Meyrick over 3m at 2.10pm. WAKANDA wasn’t quite at his best at Newcastle last time, but I expect him to be at least in the first three here.
He’s a solid front-running jumper at a peak for Sue Smith.
So best of luck and let’s hope for a Yeeehaaa or two. You Betcha!