‘Running Scared‘ by Roy Orbison provides our music based headline today for the meeting at Kempton and refers, of course, to the dilemma posed by Paul Nicholls with his runners in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at 3.00.
The Ditcheat trainer supplies four of the nine strong field but, on paper at least, only Clan Des Obeaux and Cyrname count.
A look at last year’s result, when CDO beat C by 21 lengths, suggests the choice is obvious, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Cyrname‘s facile victory in the Charlie Hall showed that the horse is back to its stunning best and, perhaps equally important, that it does indeed get 3 miles.
This race is a classic conundrum and, with the trainer stating that he has no idea which will prevail, it’s easy to imagine Sod of Sod’s Law fame rubbing his hands in glee.
Deep breath – we recommend a bet on Cyrname at 11/4.
Televised coverage starts at 1.15 with the Ladbrokes Novices’ Handicap Chase, in which the Dan Skelton trained Alnadam installed as 3/1 favourite after winning a similar event at Sandown.
However, our old friend Killer Clown was back in third that day and, armed with a 6lb pull and with Wedgie back on board, we prefer to back this one each way at a more than palatable 7/1.
The Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at 1.50 gives us another opportunity to back Shan Blue, one of our ‘follow until beaten’ horses.
This is undoubtedly the stiffest examination of the 6-y-o’s credentials but we intend to keep the faith and recommend a win bet at 15/8.
The Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle at 2.25 has just 5 runners and a 2/9 jolly in the shape of Epatante, which we are not about to take on. No bet.
ITV are also showing the William Hill Roland Meyrick Handicap Chase at 2.05 from the meeting at Wetherby.
4/1 the field reflects the apparent openness of this ‘dead eight’ event, but we have a strong preference for Snow Leopardess, trained by Charlie Longsdon.
Unsurprisingly unable to cope with the aforementioned Shan Blue on this course in October, Snowy put up a strong staying performance to win a Class 2 handicap at Haddock in November and should be able to cope with the 9 lb hike that followed.
We will venture a slightly cheeky each way at 4/1.
Back tomorrow to see if Chepstow has survived Storm Bella.
Cyrname 3.00 Kempton 4pts win @ 11/4
Killer Clown 1.15 Kempton Killer Clown 1.5pts e/w @ 7/1 (5 places Hills)
Shan Blue 1.50 Kempton 4pts win @ 15/8
Snow Leopardess 2.05 Wetherby 2pt e/w @ 4/1 (4 places Hills)