Theatre to upstage rivals
Nick Grant previews Boxing Day's action, including the King George meeting at Kempton, with tips for every race across 12 cards.
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DOWN ROYAL: 12.25 Tammys Hill, 12.55 Mackeys Forge, 1.25 Whiskey And Red, 2.00 Los Amigos, 2.30 Killshallago, 3.00 Speed Dial, 3.30 Lots Of Memories
FONTWELL: 12.20 Pharaon De Touzain, 12.55 Evella, 1.30 Umadachar, 2.05 Pass The Time, 2.45 Quapriland, 3.20 Beware Chalk Pit, 3.50 On The Move
FFOS LAS: 12.35 Accordingtopalm, 1.10 Kusadasi, 1.45 Royal Mile, 2.20 Firebird Flyer, 2.55 Character Actor, 3.30 Mortimers Cross, 4.00 Top Gamble
KEMPTON: 12.50 River Maigue, 1.25 Monarch's Way, 2.00 Dynaste, 2.35 Countrywide Flame, 3.10 RIVERSIDE THEATRE (NAP), 3.45 Henry Hook
LEOPARDSTOWN: 12.20 Ned Buntline, 12.50 Expanding Universe, 1.20 Blood Cotil, 1.50 Mobile Sizer, 2.20 Jacksonslady, 2.55 Arvika Ligeonniere, 3.30 Bose Ikard
LIMERICK: 12.35 Umpact, 1.05 Noble Pageant, 1.40 Mikael D'Haguenet, 2.10 Killcara Boy, 2.40 Futuramic, 3.10 Tristram Shandy, 3.45 Quickpick Vic
MARKET RASEN: 12.25 The Society Man, 1.00 Qalinas, 1.35 River Dragon, 2.10 Overyou, 2.45 Billy Cuckoo, 3.20 Life Long
SEDGEFIELD: 12.10 Smadynium, 12.40 Deise Dynamo, 1.15 Riskier, 1.55 River Dragon, 2.30 Tahiti Pearl, 3.05 Phase Shift, 3.35 The Bold Lord
TOWCESTER: 12.45 Todareistodo, 1.20 Be All Man, 1.55 Monty's Revenge, 2.30 One For The Boss, 3.05 Grouse Lodge, 3.40 Keep The Cash
WETHERBY: 12.35 Roi De Garde, 1.10 Jameel, 1.45 Helpston, 2.20 Ski Sunday, 2.55 Mcmurrough, 3.30 Chicklemix
WINCANTON: 12.30 Shady Lane, 1.05 Thundering Home, 1.40 Ballyallia Man, 2.15 Holywell, 2.50 Rolling Aces, 3.25 Rody, 3.55 Monderon
WOLVERHAMPTON: 1.40 Boxing Shadows, 2.10 Majuro, 2.40
Mistress Shy, 3.15 Tight Knit, 3.45 May Boy, 4.15 Desert Vision, 4.45 Jeer
DOUBLE: Riverside Theatre and Countrywide Flame
Riverside Theatre can spring a minor surprise in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Although technically a second-string in the Nicky Henderson assault behind stablemate Long Run, there is a quiet confidence behind his chance.
The assistance of Barry Geraghty is always a plus and he has had the race as his sole target for the season.
So much so, in fact, that he purposely comes here without even a prep run.
He has, however, been in racecourse gallop action and Henderson himself admitted his top-class hurdler Grandouet had a job keeping tabs with the Jimmy Nesbitt-owned eight-year-old.
Long Run and Riverside Theatre have previous, of course, with the former putting the selection in his place in this race two years ago.
But if you subscribe to the thought we have seen the best of Long Run as a precocious French-bred - and there is plenty of reason to think we have - then Geraghty's mount looks the value play.
Riverside Theatre could do with the ground not getting too much worse, but he does have winning form on soft around here so that is not too much of a worry.
Cue Card is respected in an intriguing field but the feeling is he might just have too much speed to see three miles out on this sort of ground, so The Giant Bolster looks the biggest danger.
A stellar undercard to the main event is headlined by the williamhill.com Christmas Hurdle, where preference is for Countrywide Flame.
John Quinn's charge is one of the most improved animals in training, going on from winning the Triumph hurdle to make his presence felt of the Flat this year, finishing second in the Cesarewitch.
He took that improvement forward to the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle, where there was so much to like about his defeat of Supreme Novices' Hurdle hero Cinders And Ashes.
The pair clash again, but with similar ground in prospect it is hard to see why the form should not be upheld.
Everything Dynaste has done so far since switching to fences suggests he will be hard to beat in the Kauto Star Feltham Novices' Chase.
Very smart as a staying hurdler behind the mighty Big Buck's, his transition to the bigger obstacles has been smooth and he has jumped like an old hand in the main.
His form has worked out nicely, too, with his latest victim Court In Motion coming out to win a Grade Two at Lingfield.
The Pipes know what is required for this Grade One event and David Pipe struck 12 months ago with Grands Crus.
Helpston is the pick in the Betfair-sponsored Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby.
This race has lost a fair bit of lustre over the years but remains worth winning and Pam Sly's eight-year-old was beaten less than a length in second last year by According To Pete.
Four runs since have seen mixed fortunes as he has only got round once, when winning at Newcastle in February.
But he was still going well enough when falling at Doncaster earlier this month to lend weight to the feeling his time his near.
Guaranteed testing ground will not be a problem, either.
Pass The Time gets the nod in the Betfred-sponsored Mares' Handicap Hurdle at Fontwell, while Borders National hero Mortimers Cross deserves another go in the Professional Security Management Handicap Chase at Ffos Las.
Deise Dynamo should also be kept on-side for the Jardines Catering Novices' Hurdle at Sedgefield, with the Pipe-trained Qalinas expected to likewise do the business in the Garthwest Beginners' Chase at Market Rasen.
Over at Towcester, Monty's Revenge should be up to the task in the Bet totequadpot Text Tote to 89660 Handicap Chase.
Holywell is, meanwhile, taken to end a frustrating run with victory in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle at Wincanton.
The all-weather action comes from Wolverhampton, where Jeer looks to be coming to hand nicely for the Boxing Day Handicap.