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12.40 - Get Your Ladbrokes 1 Free Bet Novices' Hurdle (2m)
Flic Ou Voyou (third) and Severance (fifth) had their wings clipped in a Listed Haydock race last month on soft ground. The former had previously looked an improved performer in winning four on the trot for Paul Nicholls. This is sure to be a big afternoon for the Ditcheat handler and Harry Cobden's mount could well bounce back here, especially if allowed to dictate things in front.
Severance, meanwhile, sheds the hood he normally sports and isn't one to dismiss hastily, having readily won a Carlisle maiden (heavy) on his hurdling bow in November. The four-year-old should have more to offer.
Nicky Henderson took this race last year and saddles long-absent French import Go Sacre Go, any strong market vibes behind him are to be noted.
On To Victory showed potential last season in four hurdles starts, despite an unseat and a fall (here). He won the November Handicap at Doncaster last month and will have designs on going well if his jumping holds together.
The most logical choice is THIRD TIME LUCKI, twice a winner over timber this season before giving too much rope to the winner at Cheltenham last month when finishing second best in a Grade 2. He couldn't close up the hill there but Dan Skelton's charge ought to relish this flat track and rates the one to beat on form.
1.15 - Play Ladbrokes 5-a-side On Football Novices' Limited Handicap Chase (2m4½f)
Dan and Harry Skelton may be hoping to double up with Alnadam if things go to plan in the opener. He had eight-lengths in hand over Killer Clown (third) when getting on the board at the second time of asking over fences at Sandown at the start of the month.
There's plenty scope for better in him. Emma Lavelle's runner meanwhile was posting an improved effort in that contest and must step forward again to be a leading player here.
MR ONE MORE was a promising hurdler in the 2017/18 season and Harry Fry's charge ran a cracker on his chasing bow at Chepstow (2m, heavy) last month despite being absent 33 months.
He just failed to reel in the idling winner Antunes that afternoon, while third home Lieutenant Rocco ran a fine race behind Fusil Raffles since at Cheltenham and certainly looks to have plenty of potential.
This lightly-raced eight-year-old has had a month to get over those exertions and with better ground a positive today, is fancied to build on that pleasing start to this new phase in his career.
Hold The Note has run well in recent starts at Newbury and Cheltenham over longer trip and is easing himself towards a workable mark now dropping back in distance. He's got form over this trip.
Son Of Camas couldn't justify market support at Cheltenham over hurdles last month on his comeback (pulled up) but he may do better now sent chasing by Nicky Henderson and he gets the services of Nico de Boinville.
That said, stablemate Falco Blitz offered something to work with at Ascot on his introduction to chasing in October and improvement could be forthcoming now. He's an each-way contender for the Seven Barrows team in a wide open contest.
1.50 - Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices' Chase (Grade 1, 3m)
The first Grade 1 offering of the afternoon and a fitting line-up with a host of promising chasers in the making.
None more so than Shan Blue, with Dan Skelton's charge have won successive race at Wetherby (2m3½f/3m) this season with a combined tally of 30 lengths in hand. His fencing is a real asset and he sets the benchmark, though this should prove his toughest assignment to date by some way.
He had a next-time-out winner well fended off last time and is a major contender with another step forward probable.
If The Cap Fits would have ranked highest of these over hurdles but he hasn't looked a complete natural over fences. He beat Fiddlerontheroof first time out at Ffos Las in October (that rival has since proven vulnerable to such an experience) while Pym turned him over subsequently at Sandown over this trip. He has excellent form over hurdles here and has to be shortlisted.
Enrilo has something to spare in his Exeter win (3m, good) last month (second won next time) and is a player for the Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden team while Kalooki built on his previous Newbury win when third in the Grade 2 John Francome Novices' Chase back there last month.
The one that gets the nod though is THE BIG BREAKAWAY in his attempt to give Colin Tizzard a third race win in five years. He's always been well thought of by the Dorset handler and after two hurdles win to start last season he finished a decent fourth in the Ballymore at Cheltenham behind Envoi Allen in March.
He had plenty to spare back there last month on chasing bow (3m½f, soft) and didn't appear to relish a drop in trip at Exeter (2m3f, soft) since when turned over by Bold Plan.
Sean Bowen gave the winner a good ride, waiting behind Robbie Power's mount and getting away on the flat in receipt of 8lb.
A return to this distance will be a major plus and The Big Breakaway can benefit from having better horses to follow now. He's tipped to enhance his trainer's excellent recent record in this race.
2.25 - Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle (Grade 1, 2m)
Just four rivals have stood their ground in attempts to stop EPATANTE retaining this Grade 1 crown and it looks an arduous task on paper. Nicky Henderson's mare was well-backed to win this a year ago and justified the support before earning Champion Hurdle glory at Cheltenham in March.
On that evidence she's the best two-mile hurdler around and she cantered to victory in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle on her recent comeback, merely taking the win as she pleased under Aidan Coleman. That strongly hints the six-year-old is still getting better and it's hard to forecast any of these rivals stopping her bagging a fourth successive Grade 1 win barring accidents.
Silver Streak was luckless at Newcastle last month, inheriting the lead at the first flight before being carried out at the next by the loose Not So Sleepy.
He had Ballyandy behind in third when only just held by Song For Someone in the International at Cheltenham since. Evan Williams' seven-year-old has the strongest claims of chasing home the very talented mare.
Diego Du Charmil is a reliable sort but must improve significantly in first-time cheekpieces to feature while it will be interesting to see how the other Henderson mare Floressa gets on.
She got back on an upward curve at Newbury last month winning a Listed handicap and gives Nicky Henderson a strong all-female cast in his quest for Christmas Hurdle victory No.10.
3.00 - Ladbrokes King George VI Chase (Grade 1, 3m)
There could be a real feeling of 'business as usual' at Kempton come 3.15pm. Nicky Henderson is fancied to gain his tenth Christmas Hurdle win and Paul Nicholls has the big two in the betting his quest for a record-extending 12th King George VI Chase success.
The Ditcheat supremo bids for a hat-trick with Clan Des Obeaux, who swept aside stablemate Cyrname by 21-lengths in retaining this crown last year.
He's set to carry favouritism again under Sam Twiston-Davies and undoubtedly does his best work at this track, in this race. It will take a big effort to steal away his crown, with improvement forecast from last month's comeback second behind Bristol De Mai in the Betfair Chase over a slightly longer trip.
Cyrname dispelled some of the worries about his stamina for three-miles in landing the Charlie Hall at Wetherby on his return.
Was something ailing him in this race last year, or did the pace and journey catch him out?
He'll have to find a lot more in the finish to justify short odds but he remains the highest-rated chaser in training and was very impressive in that comeback.
Nicholls also saddles the durable Frodon and Real Steel, with the latter a possible place contender after a decent start for his new trainer behind Imperial Aura at Ascot.
Santini represents Henderson but Kempton doesn't immediately appeal as the place where he will thrive and others may be more fleet of foot when it matters making life tough for the Gold Cup second.
Just behind him at Cheltenham was Lostintranslation for Colin Tizzard. He was a disappointment in this a year ago before undergoing wind surgery. His comeback in the Betfair Chase was laboured, though the testing ground there would surely have been against him. He's not counted out by any means.
In an open renewal, an each-way vote goes to WAITING PATIENTLY for Ruth Jefferson. He was a major fancy for this two years ago only to be have his chance thwarted by the falling Bristol De Mai, causing Brian Hughes to be unseated at the midpoint in the race.
He's only raced three times and is clearly a tough horse to get right. He returned to action last season with a cracking third (beaten a length) in the Tingle Creek and, if he retains all his ability, could belatedly prove his staying power here.
He went off 4/1 two years ago and, with his problems since, the price has risen accordingly. Don't discount the theory that Waiting Patiently can be a mantra that pays off for connections.
3.35 - Ladbrokes Committed To Safer Gambling Handicap Hurdle (2m5f)
Should he fail to land the King George again, compensation may come before home-time for Paul Nicholls with SWITCH HITTER.
The Scorpion gelding was second on hurdles bow at Fakenham in October and went one better when fighting off Malinello over this course and distance (good) early last month under Bryony Frost.
That form has worked out well and the partnership should go well again from an opening handicap mark of 127.
Nicky Henderson saddles a trio and the pick may be the mare Barbados Blue, an easy 30-length winner here in May. Like the selection, she too is joining the handicap ranks on her seasonal bow and she gets the nod from Nico de Boinville.