There’s nothing quite like watching jumps racing on Boxing Day, and fans of the sport will have the opportunity to witness one of the most competitive fixtures of the calendar year when the King George VI takes place at Kempton.
The Grade 1 National Hunt steeplechase is a three-mile event which is open to horses four years or older – and the expected field is filled with plenty of thoroughbreds who appear to be a good chance of taking out the £142,375 in prize money that’s awarded to the winner.
Therefore, without further ado, read on as we dissect the three favourites in the horse racing betting odds to take the spoils at Kempton at the time of writing.
Currently sitting as the favourite at a short price of 5/6, this seven-year-old has had an unbelievably consistent career dating back to his debut at Lingstown in March of 2019. In 15 starts, the Paul Nicholls-trained horse has secured a place in 12 fixtures – nine of which he won. His most recent outing was in the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in October – and it finished like so many of his races have in the past – with him comfortably reigning supreme by three and a half lengths from Eldorado Allen.
Bravemansgame’s performance at Wetherby was a strong return to form for the French-bred horse, who struggled in a Grade 1 Novices’ Chase at Aintree in April. However, it looks as though the 204-day break between runs has done him the world of good, and provided he pulled up well from his last showing – he will prove incredibly hard to beat.
Bravemansgame’s stablemate Hitman is another Nicholls-trained horse who is expected to be there or thereabouts come race day. The six-year-old is coming off the back of a sublime performance in the 2m5½f Graduation Chase at Haydock – which he won in dominant fashion by 11 lengths.
Hitman is the second favourite in the betting lines in the King George – and it’s not only the bookies who believe this thoroughbred has a good shot of coming away victorious – with his legendary trainer noting that he expects him to be challenging Bravemansgame down the stretch.
“I don’t think there’s much between them (Bravemansgame and Hitman). I think this horse is massively improving and I think three miles will bring out more improvement,” Nicholls said.
“He’s run some really good races and is progressive, and wherever Bravemansgame finishes, he won’t be far away.”
If both of the Nicholl’s-trained thoroughbreds line up at Kempton on Boxing Day as predicted – expect fireworks.
Another horse in great form, this French-bred seven-year-old has reigned supreme in six of his last seven fixtures dating back to December of last year. His performances at Sandown and Ascot were particularly impressive, winning by 21 and 13 lengths respectively. While the 5/6 Bravemansgame and 7/2 Hitman are considered the smart money at this stage, L’Homme Presse is too good a horse to write off.
For those who enjoy a bet, the Venetia Williams-trained L’Homme Presse is a 5/1 chance to take home the chocolates on Boxing Day.