Boxing Day horse racing tips 2018: 6 best bets at Kempton

Updated: 01/03/2024

After the indulgence of Christmas, there is a feast of sporting action on Boxing Day: and the horse racing at Kempton looks set to be a cracker.

As well as the famous King George VI Chase, there are five other races getting underway at 12.50pm. Live coverage begins on ITV at 1pm.

i racing editor Jon Freeman fancies Waiting Patiently for the big race and his selections for the others can be found below:

Freeman's Kempton selections

12.50 Thomas Darby (Next Best)
1.20 Dell Oro
1.55 Bags Groove (Best Bet)
2.30 Buveur D’Air
3.05 Waiting Patiently
3.40 Erick Le Rouge

King George VI Chase preview

Might Bite and jockey Nico de Boinville enter the 2018 King George XI Chase as favourites after last year's triumph (Getty Images)

By Jon Freeman, i racing editor 

The moment of truth has arrived for Waiting Patiently as the seven-year-old locks horns with Might Bite, Native River and the rest of the elite in a vintage renewal of this famous contest.

In her short time at the helm, trainer Ruth Jefferson has proved herself as adept as her father at getting a horse ready first time, while Waiting Patiently has twice won following 10-month breaks. And though this is his first try over three miles, she has a gut feeling he won’t fail for lack of stamina.

And if there are one or two question marks hanging over Waiting Patiently, they are hovering above his opponents, too. No horse here has a perfect CV.

The fact that Might Bite and Thistlecrack have been here and won this before does stand them in very good stead. The 11 King Georges between 2004 and 2014 were won by just four different horses (Kicking King, Long Run and Silviniaco Conti twice and Kauto Star five times). Winners of this race tend to come back and win it again.

But Might Bite was a shadow of his best self when trounced by Bristol De Mai in the Betfair Chase last month. The much-criticised stiff Haydock fences were blamed, but it was still a worryingly lack-lustre display.

Thistlecrack raced with more vim, but this former champion staying hurdler is not a fluent jumper of fences and that may find him out in the heat of battle.

As for Bristol De Mai, he proved at Haydock that he is not just a heavy-ground bully, but he has still to demonstrate that same excellence away from the Lancashire venue.

Native River was an encouraging runner-up at Haydock on his first outing since outstaying Might Bite in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but Kempton’s course doesn’t play to his strengths – he jumped left and was a beaten favourite as a novice on this day three years ago and has never run at a right-handed track since.

Paul Nicholls has two shots of improving upon his record nine King George victories and Politologue would appear to have better prospects than Clan Des Obeaux, although the grey is another with stamina to prove.

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King George VI betting tips: Best bet for the big race at Kempton

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