Bravemansgame and L'Homme Presse still on course for epic King George VI Chase clash

Nine horses are still in contention for the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, with Bravemansgame and L'Homme Presse still leading the market.

Paul Nicholls' Bravemansgame has been a leading fancy for the race ever since winning the Kauto Star Novices' Chase on the corresponding card 12 months ago and he certainly did nothing to dampen expectations with a straightforward win in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on his only outing this term.

Nicholls has two other very strong strings to his bow in Hitman and Frodon, with the Venetia Williams-trained L'Homme Presse, winner of the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase at Cheltenham in March, a major rival.

As long as the ground is considered soft enough next week, he is expected to line up.

Sam Twiston-Davies has come in for the ride on Hitman with Harry Cobden on Bravemansgame and he will be hoping for the same outcome as when Cobden chose Cyrname over Clan Des Obeaux in 2019.

Twiston-Davies told William Hill: "I've been lucky for the owners before, winning both the King George and the Punchestown Gold Cup with Clan Des Obeaux, and it's very kind of them to carry on supporting me, so I'm very grateful for that.

"I thought he was impressive at Haydock. He jumped fantastically and that looks to be one of his biggest assets.

"Yes, he's a young horse who's yet to tackle this trip, but he's really going the right way and I'm excited for it."

Previous winner Frodon will be ridden by Bryony Frost after she was given the green light to return from a recent spell on the sidelines with a broken collar bone.

Ahoy Senor will be having his second run at Kempton on Boxing Day, having chased home Bravemansgame 12 months ago, if he is allowed to take his chance by Lucinda Russell.

Envoi Allen is the sole Irish challenger for Henry de Bromhead after he returned to something like his best at Down Royal.

Eldorado Allen, Millers Bank and Royale Pagaille, another possible from the Williams yard, are also engaged.

The King George is one of four Grade Ones on a blockbuster afternoon, with the rearranged Ladbrokes Long Walk Hurdle another top-level contest.

Paisley Park, Champ, Miranda, Not So Sleepy and the Gary Moore-trained pair of Botox Has and Goshen have been left in.

Perhaps the main attraction for racegoers, though, will be the chance to see National Hunt's new superstar Constitution Hill in the Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle.

He has thoroughly impressed in four races to date, including in the Fighting Fifth on his return.

Stablemate and former champion hurdler Epatante was no match for him on that occasion but the abandonment of Cheltenham earlier this month means she has to take him on again.

There are 10 entries with I Like To Move It and Knappers Hill possible rivals.

In the Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices' Chase, McFabulous and Thyme Hill could clash again as the pair appear among six entries with Dan Skelton's pair of Ballygrifincottage and Galia Des Liteaux also possible.

Clerk of the course Barney Clifford said conditions are set fair for what should be a fantastic afternoon.

"We've had some rain in recent days but we were well placed to take it - we were relatively dry for the most of December," said Clifford.

"Current ground conditions are good to soft, there is more rain in the forecast, possibly anything between 15 and 25 millimetres depending on which meteorological site you look at.

"If we get that we will ease further to good to soft, soft in places or even soft, good to soft, so we'll just see how much rain comes through.

"It's fantastic to have four Grade Ones on Boxing Day, sensational really and a first in my time here."

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