Simon Holt's free horse racing tips for Boxing Day: Having a Bite

Top commentator Simon Holt previews Boxing Day's feature action including the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton.

It seems extraordinary that the hot favourite for the 32Red King George V1 Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day holds one of the lowest ratings in the field but, with MIGHT BITE, the market is swayed by potential.

At this meeting 12 months ago, the Nicky Henderson-trained eight-year-old was sailing to victory in the Kauto Star Novices's Chase, and about to record a very fast time, only to crash-land dramatically at the final fence.

Might Bite put matters right on his next three starts at Doncaster, Cheltenham and Aintree but he very nearly threw away certain victory again at the Festival when suddenly veering off course after the final fence but for which he would have beaten his stable-mate Whisper by a wide margin.

However, there was only two lengths between the two horses at Aintree subsequently, and Whisper now boasts the higher rating after his fine second to Total Recall in last month's Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury.

With just one run under his belt this season (at Sandown), Might Bite hasn't been given the chance to show what he can really do, and based on the brilliant verve he displayed here and at Cheltenham (albeit with flaws attached) he looks potentially top class.

This course and distance should prove ideal, though really soft ground would not be quite so suitable.

Whisper could well be the main danger. Despite the complaints of his trainer, the handicapper's reaction to that Newbury effort was entirely proportionate and it should be remembered that this horse was a dual Grade One winner over hurdles with a best rating just 2lb below his current chase mark.

Moreover, Whisper handled the course well when beating sole rival Clan Des Obeaux first time out this season, and could be more ground-versatile than his stable-mate.

Going conditions here could be crucial for Bristol De Mai, a fascinating runner after his annihilation of Cue Card in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last time.

That wasn't the first time that the Nigel Twiston Davies-trained grey has bounced his way through deep ground and an earlier defeat of stable-companion Blaklion (winner since) in the Charlie Hall at Weherby was also an excellent performance which has been franked several times since.

The big question is whether Bristol De Mai can prove so dominant going right handed at Kempton under conditions which may not offer him the same advantage.

Meanwhile, a step up in distance is the main doubt for Fox Norton's supporters. The seven-year-old, who proved himself one of the best two/two-and-a-half milers in the country last spring, could never quite get to grips with Politologue in the Tingle Creek at Sandown last time and now goes up a mile in trip.

Fox Norton's mostly Flat-based pedigree does not inspire confidence in his stamina, but this is a horse who has just got better and better in the past couple of years and he cannot be ruled out even over this flat three miles which is deceptively taxing.

Thistlecrack: Set for hurdles return
Thistlecrack: Has plenty to prove after disappointing reappearance

Of course, the latter's stable-companion Thistlecrack is perhaps the most intriguing contender of all.

Successful last year when all five of the runners were covered by around seven lengths, this former star staying hurdler returned from injury with a disappointing performance behind Beer Goggles at Newbury.

Back over fences, and with that run under his belt, Thistlecrack could be a threat to all but he surely has something to prove now.

Earlier, all eyes will be on the Champion Hurdler Buveur D'Air as he continues his build-up to the Festival in the Unibet Christmas Hurdle.

Having hacked up in the Fighting Fifth on his reappearance at Newcastle, he appears to have another simple task (at long odds-on) against gallant old stager The New One.

Meanwhile, at Wetherby, the 188bet Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase can go to Sue Smith's DELUSIONOFGRANDEUR even though he appears to be the stable's second string behind last year's runner-up Wakanda.

12 months on, the latter is down in the weights since chasing home Definitly Red, but Wakanda was well beaten in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle last time and his stablemate looks more up and coming.

Delusionofgrandeur, the mount of Sean Quinlan, caught my eye when making a bold bid from the front in the Durham National at Sedgefield in early November and confirmed that favourable impression with a comfortable victory at Catterick subsequently.

A good jumper who has had just four starts over fences, he is open to plenty of improvement.

Recommended Bets

2pts win Might Bite 3.05 Kempton at best-morning price on Boxing Day

2pts Delusionofgrandeur 2.10 Wetherby at best-morning price on Boxing Day

Posted at 1040 GMT on 24/12/17

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