Boxing Day ITV Racing Tips: Best bets for Kempton and Wetherby

With four races from Kempton, including the King George, and one from Wetherby being shown live on ITV some punting advice won't go amiss - and nor will some free bets!

Those free bets are up for grabs on each of the five live races and work like this...

Get up to £20 back as a free bet if your horse places second and is beaten by half a length or less - applies to ALL LIVE ITV RACES!

With that concession on your side, you can bet with a little more confidence - whether you choose to follow our expert advice or pick your own selections - and by clicking on the horse's names below you can head straight to Planet Sport Bet and place your bets.

Selections:

Danny Kirwan (13.20 Kempton)

Ahoy Senor (13.55 Kempton)

Empire Steel (14.10 Wetherby)

Tritonic (14.30 Kempton)

Chantry House (15.05 Kempton)

13.20 Kempton - Danny Kirwan

It's hard to believe the current going description at Kempton of "good" won't change given there's plenty of rain in the forecast, and that will suit Bothwell Bridge as he wants soft ground ideally.

Nicky Henderson's charge was impressive on his chase debut at Sandown, where he jumped like a buck, and there should be more to come from him over fences.

But he has to give 3lb to Paul Nicholls' Danny Kirwan in this limited handicap run over an extended 2m4f and the eight-year-old looks the bet at a point or so longer in the betting.

A relative latecomer to fences, he showed a willing attitude to grab second in a hot novice on his chase debut at Cheltenham; his first ever placing on a left-handed-track and after plenty went wrong on the way round.

He's going to relish the return to Kempton - five of his six best performances over hurdles came on right-handed flat tracks - and looks sure to run a huge race.

13.55 Kempton - Ahoy Senor

The Grade 1 Kauto Star is effectively a match between Bravemansgame and Ahoy Senor with bookies slightly favouring the Nicholls runner at the time of posting, but they could flip-flop in the market.

When the pair clashed over hurdles at Aintree in April, Ahoy Senor proved far too good, running out a seven lengths winner, and it could well be a similar story over fences.

Lucinda Russell's six-year-old is undoubtedly the most exciting horse to emerge from a northern-based stable in many a year, moving his trainer to tears after he won a Newbury Grade 2 in scintillating style last month.

She said afterwards: "I started crying up the home straight. Coming back in, to actually think you have a horse like that - it is just amazing to be connected to a horse like this."

Earlier this week, she issued a very postive bulletin: "He worked really, really well on Saturday - it was just scintillating. He's ready to go and we're trying to create a fantastic horse, a champion."

Bravemansgame is hugely exciting too of course, having won both his chase starts in taking fashion, and it can be argued that he's more the finished article at this stage.

What a clash in store!

As for a bet, getting around evens the two in a match race doesn't exactly get the punting juices flowing, but we'll make Ahoy Senor the pick as we feel that he's the superior horse.

14.10 Wetherby - Empire Steel

It remains to be seen whether Cloudy Glen can back up his Ladrokes Trophy success off a 10lb higher mark, for all that is the best form on offer in the 3m Rowland Meyrick Chase.

He was just hanging on at the finish of the Newbury race and has not been the most consistent of horses over fences (3-15), so we're going to look elsewhere for the winner.

Silver Hallmark has been installed as favourite and that's understandable as he's sure to be sharper for his comeback fourth behind Fiddlerontheroof at Carlisle, where he had a stiffish task at the weights.

However, it was a weak Grade 2 novice that he won at Haydock in January - was left to beat two others after the odds-on favourite fell - and he's yet to race beyond 2m4f under Rules.

If he stays, and there's plenty of stamina in his pedigree, he must go close, but preference at bigger odds is for Sandy Thomson's Empire Steel, who made a solid return to action when splitting Strictlyadancer and Fidux at Haydock last month.

That's decent form and the lightly-raced seven-year-old, who surely hasn't reached his limit for a yard that excels with staying chasers, looks to have a nice handicap like today's in him off his current mark.

There's an even better handicaped runner in the field in the shape of Dan Skelton's Debrece, who has had wind surgery since finishing second on his stable debut in March, and he may be one to give the selection most to do.

14.30 Kempton (Christmas Hurdle) - Tritonic

Epatante wasn't seen at her best when dead-heating with the re-opposing Not So Sleepy in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle on her return to action, with the rain-soaked ground a possible excuse.

A better surface at Kempton will see her in a better light and she deserves to be a short-priced favourite for this Grade 1 contest on her overall form, although anyone thinking of backing her at odds-on will do well to remember she was turned over at 1/5 in this very contest 12 months ago.

Not So Sleepy might have taken sole honours in the Newcastle race had he jumped the last two flights more cleanly and he looks a worthy opponent again, but we'll take a chance instead on Alan King's Tritonic in the hope he can produce a personal best.

As a four-year-old, he surely has his best days ahead of him and arrives here on the back of winning an ultra competitive handicap at Ascot run at a fierce gallop, the form of which should prove strong.

He has been beaten three times at Cheltenham since impressing in the Adonis Hurdle run over track and trip last February, so it's fair to say he's best racing right-handed, and with a little more improvement he's capable of springing a minor surprise.

15.05 Kempton - Chantry House

Clan Des Obeaux is bidding to regain his King George VI Chase crown, having won back-to-back renewals in 2018 and 2019, and he arrives here a fresh horse, unlike last year when he ran flat following a very hard race in sloppy ground at Haydock five weeks previously.

Clan Des Obeaux (right) winning his first King George under Harry Cobden

So a much better performance this time around is anticipated and he's part of a three-strong team for Paul Nicholls, who is looking for win number 13 in the Kempton showpiece and is also represented by last year's winner Frodon and outsider Saint Calvados.

The former horse enjoyed the run of the race under an excellent ride from Bryony Frost 12 months ago and things might not fall so kindly for him this time around, especially as this looks a much deeper renewal.

If the race was around Cheltenham, Gold Cup hero Minella Indo would be a short-priced favourite and there has to be some doubt about this dour stayer being quite so effective over this relatively sharp track. His connections clearly have their own concerns in reaching for first-time cheek-pieces to "help him focus."

But there's a new pretender that might just break the Nicholls stranglehold on the race in the shape of Chantry House and, while we won't pretend he's mega-value at around the 5/1 mark given his relative lack of experience, he's shown enough to earn the pick.

Chantry House on his way to win at Aintree, April 2021.

A dual Grade 1-winning novice last season - the 2m4f Marsh at Cheltenham and the 3m1f Mildmay at Aintree - he looks to have the necessary stamina combined with the tactical speed to shine over Kempton's flat 3m.

Now 5-6 over fences and with a legitimate excuse for his sole defeat at Cheltenham - treated for a kissing spine afterwards - he's the standout contender in terms of potential and it wouldn't surprise in the slightest were he to find that little bit extra required to be called the winner.

As for the rest, you have to respect the chances of Willie Mullins' Asterion Forlonge, who surely would have gone close to landing the Grade 1 John Durkan earlier this month but for unseating his rider three out.

But given his propensity for mistakes, a clear round is far from certain, while Lostintranslation, who has pulled up twice in this race, albeit with excuses, is another who comes with risks.

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