One of the busiest and best days of the racing calendar is upon us with action up and down the country. The main event, of course, is the King George at Kempton and here are Nick Luck’s festive fancies from there as well as in the William Hill-sponsored Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby.


KILLER CLOWN can continue a season to be jolly for Emma Lavelle by winning the televised opener on Boxing Day at Kempton (1.15pm). For one with hardly any meaningful experience over fences, he ran a blinder in a warm handicap on deep ground at Sandown behind today’s rival Alnadam. He raced exuberantly that day and this smooth traveller may be better suited to this track and slightly better ground at 13/2. That, combined with a six-pound pull with the winner, can help him get right on the premises here. Hold The Note is interesting back in the right grade and at the right trip for a stable that has done well in this race before.

IF THE CAP FITS can erase the memory of a slightly undistinguished performance in a three horse race last time by showing his class in the Kauto Star Novice Chase (1.50pm) at 4/1. The best of these over hurdles by some margin, he has been a bit slovenly over fences so far despite showing useful form. Given the effect of cheekpieces on his hurdles form, however, their reapplication here is surely a massive positive. Conditions will suit and he is a very tempting bet as third favourite. Shan Blue is clearly exciting, but is a short price, while One For The Team could easily outrun his odds at a decent price.

SILVER STREAK – one of the most underrated horses in training – is worth a tiny bet at the prices to upset Epatante in the Christmas Hurdle (2.25pm) at 11/2. Now it is obvious to all of us that the mare might be almost impossible to beat, and she blew away the selection last year, but my reading is that he has improved a bit this season and – looking at the Turftrax readings – the ground might be more in his favour than it was then. He was desperately unlucky not to win at Cheltenham last time as he met trouble in running five times, and he’ll be well suited by the presence of three front runners in a well-run race, thereby potentially neutralising Epatante’s wicked finishing kick.

SAINT CALVADOS appeals as a lovely each-way bet in the King George (3.00pm) at 18/1. While I have huge regard for the Nicholls pair, I’m pretty sure the market has missed Harry Whittington’s horse. Quite simply, splitting Min and A Plus Tard at Cheltenham in the Ryanair was top class form, a run that had been signposted by an outstanding weight carrying effort there earlier in the season. That was the first time he’d run over further than two miles, and my feeling is he’ll improve again for another step up in trip here.


SNOW LEOPARDESS is a super-tough mare, and may have more to offer off this mark in the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby (2.05pm). Time may tell that she was facing the impossible when running second to Shan Blue here earlier in the season, and you had to love her never-say-die effort at Haydock last time. Given how well runner-up Commodore ran subsequently, you would be hard pushed to say the handicapper has been harsh and she looks the one to be with at 9/2.

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