Leftover turkey, a full domestic fixture list and *six* horse racing meetings, headlined by the blockbuster King George VI Chase – arguably the greatest sporting day of the year is almost upon us, Boxing Day!
We look set for an absolute belter of a Festive showdown at Kempton, Clan Des Obeaux vs Cyrname – a repeat of the 2019 renewal, and this time it looks better than ever. Both trained by Paul Nicholls who said recently he cannot split the pair, will go head to head over three miles to land the Festive spoils.
Clan Des Obeaux is the back-to-back winner of the race and warmed up with a two length second to Bristol De Mai in the Betfair Chase last month. Nicholls commented after he’d had a tough race but was more than happy with it as a prep run. Any horse that wins this prestigious race is a superstar, to win it back-to-back means you’re a very special horse, Clan is possibly underrated though due to his lack of performance at Cheltenham through the years but three miles around Kempton seems to bring the best in him.
Cyrname was the red-hot favourite for the race last season, coming off the back of inflicting that first defeat over obstacles on Altior at Ascot the previous month, but like Altior, they killed each other’s season in a monster race and he was no match for stablemate Clan Des Obeaux that day. He looked better than ever in the Charlie Hall Chase though with Nicholls commenting that he “looks fantastic – I am very, very happy. We are in a completely different place to where we were last year.” and with Harry Cobden choosing to ride Cyrname big things are expected.
Nicholls could have as many as four runners in the race on the 26th with Frodon and Real Steel provisionally entered, elsewhere, Lostintranslation sits third fav in the market, and last season’s third in the Gold Cup retains the “complete faith” of the Tizzard’s ahead of the big race. He was a well beaten 47 lengths in the Betfair Chase on his seasonal reappearance raising questions about his well-being but his trainer has won the King George in both 2015 and 2016 with Cue Card and Thistlecrack respectively so write Lostintranslation off at your peril.
If that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite then Leopardstown have their annual four-day Christmas Meeting beginning on Boxing Day too, the main races being the Grade 1s Racing Post Novice Chase, Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase, Savills Chase and the Matheson Hurdle bringing the festivities to a close. Here we are likely to see Envoi Allen, Monkfish, Ballyadam, Appreciate It, Honeysuckle, Samcro, Abacadabras, Min, Chacun Pour Soi, Saint Roi and many more Grade 1 winners – it really is the most wonderful time of the year!
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