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The Mandarin’s Boxing Day Selections for 26th December 2023

The Mandarin’s Boxing Day Selections from Kempton, Aintree & Leopardstown


Ladbrokes Boost Your Odds On Racing Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase 12.45
General Medrano
Emma Lavelle can score in the opener at Kempton’s Boxing Day meeting with General Medrano. So unlucky to see Paisley Park pipped at the line in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday, this can go some way to easing the pain from that Grade 1 near miss, with Paisley Park looking the winner from some way out. General Medrano has made a great start to his chasing career with form figures of 1,1,2, and will be right in the mix again with conditions ideal

Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 1.20
Hermes Allen (nap)
There has been plenty of support for French raider Il Est Francais in the run-up to this important Grade 1 Novices’ Chase. However, he’ll find the ground very different from the soft going at Auteuil where he normally plies his trade, so a ready preference is for Paul Nicholls’s Hermes Allen. A Grade 1 winning hurdler in the Challow at Newbury Park last year, this Poliglote gelding has moved seamlessly into the Novice Chasing Division, with a win in the Grade 2 John Francombe Chase under his belt returned to that venue. Paul Nicholls is going great guns at the start of this campaign, and Hermes Allen is taken to add to the tally

Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle (Grade 1) 1.55
Rubaud E/W (nb)
With Constitution Hill all but impossible to oppose once again, the value bet would seem to be an each way punt on Rubaud, who looks the best of the rest for this Grade 1. A progressive enough sort in his own right, this Air Chief Marshal gelding has now won six starts over timber, including the Grade 2 Elite Hurdle at Wincanton to back up a Listed win here. Constitution Hill is by far the highest rated hurdler in the National Hunt scene, but if he isn’t on his A-game, Rubaud will be the one to benefit. Constitution Hill is such a short price that even the straight forecast is at skinny odds, so an each-way punt on Rubaud is the way to go

Ladbrokes King George VI Chase (Grade 1) 2.30
What a renewal is in store as the Gold Cup runner-up from the Cheltenham Festival, Bravemansgame, looks to defend his title against some quality opposition. With two of these, Shiskin and Allaho both on a bit of a comeback trail, there’s real depth to Kempton’s Christmas feature. First up, after a brilliant chasing career came to an abrupt stop when Shiskin pulled-up in the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival two seasons back, having lined up as the hot favourite, a return to his former glory looked on the cards when scoring in the Aintree Bowl in April. However, he refused to race when making a seasonal reappearance at Ascot last month, and then was rightly withdrawn form the Fighting Fifth Hurdle on unsuitable ground over a trip too short, leaving him without a sharpener this term. Allaho also spent some time on the sidelines after a rare spleen problem, but proved all the talent remained when cosily taking the Clonmel Oil Chase after eighteen months off. Bravemansgame should have won the Charlie Hall at Wetherby, but for stretching for the last and landing on the fence, which took all momentum out of him, and returned too quickly on unsuitable soft ground at Haydock Park, had to concede to course expert Royal Pagaille in the Betfair Chase. Bravemansgame has been given a break now, so with his jumping as neat as a pin, and a great course record here, will still need to be at his very best to fend off both Allaho and Shiskin in a real thriller To Win Free Music Tickets Maiden Hurdle 3.05
Court In The Act
Harry Derham’s Court Cave gelding looks a solid proposition for this Maiden. Racing experience should serve him well and the impression he made on his hurdling bow at Hereford suggested that there’s more to come. Moon Chime and Nicky Henderson’s Gentleman’s Relish look the main dangers, but Court In The Act gets the nudge

Ladbrokes Get Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Hurdle 3.40
Will Carver
It’s easy to back Nicky Henderson’s Will Carver for the closer at Kempton. This course winner is three from six over timber, and was pretty impressive on his seasonal reappearance at Taunton last month, coming home 8 lengths to the good. Very lightly raced as an eight year old after just the 10 career starts, so remains unexposed and could be the answer


Unibet Middle Distance Series Veterans’ Handicap Chase 12.30
It could pay to side with Venetia Williams’s Ibleo for this Veterans Handicap Chase. With conditions here set to suit, and just the three rivals to take a measure of, Ibleo looks the one to follow. Top Ville Ben will find this a bit sharp, while Riders Onthe Storm might find too much cut in this ground, so Mac Tottie and Ibleo can fight this one out, with Ibleo topping the shortlist

William Hill Formby Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 1.05
Farren Glory
Assuming that Gordon Elliott’s Fame And Glory gelding travels well, Farren Glory should be right in the mix here. He’s going to post on a hat-trick, after wins at Clonmel and Fairyhouse on going heavy to soft, so conditions here should hold no terrors. Nicky Henderson’s last time out winner, Jango Baie rates the main threat with James Bowen aboard, but brother Sean is leading the Jockeys’ Championship so is taken to score in the sibling rivalry

William Hill Epic Value Handicap Hurdle 1.40
Minella Drama
It has been quite a while since Donald McCain’s Flemensfirth gelding has been seen over hurdles, but his previous record stacks up with three wins and three runners-up spots from his six starts. Lining up in the Grade 2 1965 Chase at Ascot last time out was obviously a big ask, so he’s returned to calmer waters here. If still having the turn of foot over hurdles, Minella Drama could defy top-weight and take this Class 2 Handicap


Mercedes-Benz South Dublin Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2) 1.10
Joseph O’Brien’s Nurburgring looks the one to follow for this important Juvenile contest. He was upsides of the re-opposing Kala Conti in a Grade 3 hurdle at Fairyhouse just over three weeks ago, finding enough when it mattered to take his record to three from three over timber. Willie Mullins has a fair few lining up, the pick of these likely to be Kargese, but Nurburgring is one going the right way and can defy the penalty

Racing Post Novice Chase (Grade 1) 2.20
Facile Vega
There’s likely to be long odds-on winners on both sides of he Irish Sea on Tuesday, with Constitution Hill in the Christmas Hurdle and Facile Vega lining up in the feature here on St Stephen’s Day. The son of the remarkable Quevega, Facile Vega just made one race-defining slip at the last in the Supreme Novices’ at the Cheltenham Festival to be denied that Grade 1 glory by Marine Nationale, but chasing looks to be his game so he’s hard to oppose here. Both My Mate Mozzie and Found A Fifty are decent opponents, but Facile Vega is one right out of the top drawer and hard to oppose

The Mandarin

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