What a Boxing Day of racing we have in store with the festive cracker that is the King George at Kempton taking centre stage. There’s also a great WH-sponsored card at Wetherby and Nick Luck has hopefully found some Christmas winners for us.


MISTER COFFEY might be the answer to the TV opener from Kempton on Boxing Day (1.20pm) at 4/1. A very big horse, he has taken time to get the hang of it, but his chasing debut at Newbury was quite promising, going down only to horses with more experience. The winner has obliged subsequently at Ludlow, and I liked the way Mister Coffey kept at it up the run-in. Sean Bowen is never a negative.

AHOY SENOR gets the vote in a really intriguing match for the Kauto Star (1.55pm). While Bravemansgame looks to possess the more assured jumping technique, the evidence of Aintree and Newbury suggests that Ahoy Señor possesses a really rare talent. He is overpriced at 6/5 on the basis this might not be his track, but this is a small field, and I feel sure that can simply boss these in the manner of Coneygree some years ago.

NOT SO SLEEPY can add further lustre to an extraordinary career by winning the Christmas Hurdle (2.30pm) at 11/4. What impressed most about his dead-heat in the Fighting Fifth was the way he determinedly fought back having looked third best at the last. Jonny Burke can ride him as aggressively as he chooses, knowing that the other quartet all want holding up to varying degrees. Any further rain will only strengthen his chances and he is a confident choice.

CLAN DES OBEAUX looks ever such a big price at 3/1 for a dual winner of the King George (3.05pm). For whatever reason, he has never really captured the public imagination, but his form at Aintree and Punchestown last season with cheekpieces applied was the best he has ever produced, and you can be sure that this has been his only real target since. Again, rain would be no disadvantage. The key dangers may come from within – I fancy Frodon can run another huge race, while Saint Calvados could easily make it a Nicholls trifecta.


DEBECE can run a bold race in the William Hill Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby (2.10pm). Evidently not the easiest to train, this half brother to Don Poli still has bags of ability judged on his debut run for Dan Skelton, when he couldn’t quite give weight to Fortescue, a horse now rated fully a stone higher. Debece has had a wind operation since, which needs only to eke out a tiny bit of improvement to see him figure here at 6/1.