King George VI Chase and more: Boxing Day race – live | King George VI Chase

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Key events

The King George is one of the most prestigious obstacle courses on the calendar with a list of big names among its track record. There’s one runner today at Kempton who could prove an all-time great to rank with Arkle, Desert Orchid and Kauto Star, all truly outstanding King George winners, that’s Constitution Hill, trained by Nicky Henderson, who lines up in the Christmas Hurdle at 1:55 p.m., and has just arrived on the track.

A BestofBets.com spokesperson pointed out that “Henderson’s Air Drinker was narrowly beaten at 1-4 by teammate Verdana Blue in a follow-up bid in 2018, while between her two victories, Stunning from the same yard has been transformed on a 1-5 odds in 2020”, but if the new kid on the block is beaten today, it will be the biggest shock for many years. this great analysis by Jamie Lynch of the horse’s last victory.

Constitution Hill has arrived 😍

📺 Watch LIVE racing on @ITV from 12:30pm#ITVRacing | #ChristmasFestival | @kemptonparkrace | @sevenbarrows pic.twitter.com/C0cymxs0Rb

— ITV Racing (@itvracing) December 26, 2022

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Everything is ready for a great day of racing at Kempton Park with the official “soft” start and no non-runners to report at the moment.

Currently no NR's @kemptonparkrace, for the Going and any further updates see here > https://t.co/Ad7enwAXKG

— BHA Stewards (@BHAStewards) December 26, 2022

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Preamble

Greg Wood

Hello from sunny Sunbury-on-Thames, where a boisterous bank holiday crowd gathers in Kempton Park for the King George VI Chase, one of the traditional highlights of the racing year.

Nine riders are due to line up for the big race at 2:30 p.m., on officially soft ground, and there’s also a big Christmas bonus for racing fans on this year’s card like Constitution Hill, the best young hurdler in several decades. at least, is leading a five-man field for the Christmas Hurdle at 1.55.

The race will likely be Constitution Hill’s last race before the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March and fans are hoping to see something like his 22 lengths in the Supreme Novice Hurdle at last season’s Festival meeting, or whatever. the least, his 12-length loss to Épatante – who are back against him today – at Newcastle in November.

They won’t cover much of the festive expense at his likely odds of around 1-9, however, and so an intriguing and open King George renewal will be front and center for most punters.

The busy manwho won a first-year novice pursuit at the Cheltenham Festival last season, became a narrow favorite this morning ahead of bravemansgame, who was tipped for the same race at the Festival but withdrew the day because of the ground soaked by the rain. You can read my preview of the big race along with the other televised races here.

There was also money, however, for another of last season’s top rookies, Hey Senor, which fell 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 far behind him in the Grade One Mildmay Novice Chase at Aintree in April, but his jump has let him down several times in the past and he will have to hold it all together in the final stages for a chance to keep them at bay even today.

Constitution Hill leads his housemates to Nicky Henderson's stables at Seven Barrows in Lambourn.
Constitution Hill leads his housemates to Nicky Henderson’s stables at Seven Barrows in Lambourn. Photography: Steve Davies

Elsewhere on the field, Send Allen is bound to attract plenty of support to give Rachael Blackmore a first King George VI Chase, which would also mean the most successful female jockey in jumping would join Ruby Walsh, Tony McCoy and Barry Geraghty as winner of the Champion Hurdle, Gold Cup, Grand National and King George, having completed the set in just under two years.

With Hitman running for an ownership syndicate that includes former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and the ever-popular Frodo and Bryony Frost attempting to repeat their surprise success in this race two years ago, there is something for everyone in the big race peloton and the excitement will build from 12:10 p.m. when the meeting begins with what is generally one of the best early season novice hedgers.

Kempton is one of eight racing tracks 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 days unfolds. busy and most anticipated of the racing year.

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