FIVE To Follow: Boxing Day Bonanza

After sleeping off two full plates of Christmas dinner and mince pies galore, we move to the best day of the festive period. Boxing Day. And what a bonanza of racing we have on offer. FIVE Grade One’s from all over the British Isles, and all covered in a special FIVE to Follow.



Auld Lang Syne

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1:20 – Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (Grade One) – Giovinco @ 11/4 (William Hill)

I have problems with the top two in the market. Hermes Allen has never gone over three miles before. And the French raider Il Est Francais has never gone on anything firmer than very soft.

The going may prove to catch some of these horses out and Giovinco will relish it. He was unlucky at Sandown with problems being caused by a loose horse, but it’s clear he’s a stayer and a sharper track may be the trick.


Royal Message

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1:55 – Christmas Hurdle (Grade One) – Sceau Royal @ 16/1 (PLACE) (William Hill)

Constitution Hill is not only the best hurdler on the planet right now, he’s probably the best there’s going to be for the decade to come. There’s no wonder he’s such short odds, it’s a case of name the distance with him.

But to get close to him I’ve gone with an old name. Sceau Royal may be an 11-year-old but he’ll still know his way round Kempton Park like the back of his hand. Rubaud has never quite cut the mustard in terms of performances and will be put against the sword by the old master.


Boxing Banker

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2:30 – King George VI Chase (Grade One) – Allaho @ 7/4 (General)

Ever since Bravemansgame was beaten twice this season, I doubted he’d actually coming here. I fear that he’s been overraced and won’t be up to the standard we saw him last year. Then the might of Willie Mullins decided to get a look-in. Allaho looks tailor-made for this race, especially with Paul Townend ditching the usual St. Stephen action at Leopardstown. Allaho has won the Punchestown Gold Cup and has always finished with plenty in the tank when winning his two Ryanair’s. He is the one to beat.

One who I think is very overpriced is a Grade One winner everyone has dismissed. The Real Whacker beat Gerri Colombe in last year’s Brown Advisory and had that form boosted at the start of November. Handicap Company proved a little too much and is in preferred race conditions here. The ground should suit, and I’ve a feeling trainer Patrick Neville has had this race in mind since the start of the season. Certainly worth something at 17/2 (BetVictor, Unibet, Betfred).



Technically The Tolworth

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1:05 – William Hill Formby Novices’ Hurdle (Grade One) – Farren Glory @ 3/1 (Betfred)

It’s quite rare we see an Irish raider in this race, but maybe it’s because the Irish don’t have far to travel off the ferry? But we get to see a Grade One winning novice hurdler on our shores before most of ours have had two runs. And Farren Glory looked a real nice type when upsetting the odds at Fairyhouse and beating stablemate King Of Kingsfield by one-and-a-half lengths. It’s quite often these days, we don’t have the best novices anymore.

One to take advantage of the conditions at a price is Favour And Fortune. It’s clear he has a preference for soft ground, even if he’s versatile on form. There hasn’t been a boost from his win at Wetherby, but many of his rivals would prefer there to be less rain up North. Sadly, they won’t be getting it. He’s worth a poke at double figures, 10/1 (BetVictor, Betfred, Boylesports).



A St. Stephen Star

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2:20 – Racing Post Novice Chase (Grade One) – Facile Vega @ 1/3 (General)

With organisers looking to get rid of one of the three novice chases here, an argument may be given to this one and its lack of runners. Only four turn up for this year’s renewal and no more than seven have turned up for one in the past ten years.

And with the lack of runners comes the lack of value. Facile Vega will win it simply because of his quality, and the lack of opposition. Sharjah may prove to be useful, even at the ripe old age of 10, and Mullins won’t bother giving a sniff to the two other horses. For better value a tricast on the two Mullins runners, plus Cheltenham winner My Mate Mozzie, may pay something back.

The very best of luck!

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