Quality rather than quantity for the return of televised racing today, with the meetings at Kempton and Wetherby the two selected meetings.
Highlight of the Sunbury card is the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at 2.30, which has a field of nine.
This race has thrown up some long priced winners in the recent past (28-1 last year) but the two horses at the head of the market look the ones on which to concentrate this afternoon.
Bravemansgame is the pick of Paul Nicholls‘ three runners, with the trainer describing the race as his 7-y-o’s Gold Cup, so should not lightly be opposed.
We’re going to do just that, though, by nominating L’Homme Presse as our selection.
The fragrant Venetia‘s representative, who’s name translates to the headline, in case you were wondering, has done nothing but improve since going over fences, winning five in a row last season before one race too many at Aintree last April.
The reappearance run at Newcastle, when taking a handicap off a mark of 164 suggests that the improvement has been maintained and we recommend a win bet at 5-2.
Action commences with the transferred (from Ascot) Ladbrokes Long Walk Hurdle at 12.45, which wll witness a re-match between Champ and Paisley Park, who were separated by a neck at Newbury last month.
With this speed track likely to suit Champ far more than Emma Lavelle‘s warrior, we take the Henderson horse to confirm the form and suggest a win bet at 7-4.
The Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at 1.20 has Mr Nicholls‘ Mcfabulous as 15-8 favourite and, strictly on official ratings, this should win.
However, the very soft ground may be a negative and we prefer the chances of the potential big improver Galia Des Liteaux from the Skeltons.
A winner of an Irish Point, this 6-y-o’s debut over fences last time out was visually very impressive, beating a subsequent Listed race winner without coming off the bridle.
In receipt of a 7lb mares’ allowance, GDL has just 5lbs to find and may well do just that. Have a win bet at 5-2.
The Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle at 1.55 is another chance to marvel at the ability of Constitution Hill, so for our final bet we move to Wetherby for the William Hill Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at 1.35.
Fav for this is Shan Blue, which capsized at the third last in the Charlie Hall last season when well clear of its field. Didn’t quite look the same horse in two subsequent runs, however and we will take it on with Sounds Russian.
Ruth Jefferson‘s star opened this season with an easy win at Kelso off a mark of 150 and ran a blinder next time out at Aintree, finishing a close fourth in a Grade 2, just behind three much higher rated horses.
This good traveller will be much more suited by today’s venue, back in a handicap and rates a good each way bet at 7-1.
Back tomorrow for the Welsh Grand National.
L’Homme Presse 2.30 Kempton 2pts win @ 5-2
Champ 12.45 Kempton 2pts win @ 7-4
Galia Des Liteaux 1.20 Kempton 2pts win @ 5-2
Sounds Russian 1.35 Wetherby 1.5pts e/w @ 7-1 (4 places)