Christmas Period – The Big Races 2017

2017 Cheltenham Festival - day four

With Christmas fast approaching, some of the best racing of the year also comes in the form of a plethora of Grade 1 races. Kempton, Leopardstown and Chepstow play host to some fantastic racing on December 26th, 27th and 28th and we have it all covered down below.

King George VI Chase (26th December, Kempton Park)

We will start off with arguably one of the biggest races of the season and the second leg of the £1 Million Bonus Treble. The King George is contested at Kempton over the three mile distance, with some of the likely Gold Cup contenders emerging for this classy contest. The race was won twelve months ago in emphatic fashion by Thistlecrack, who would have gone off favourite for the Gold Cup had he not been injured later in the season. The antepost favourite is Might Bite, who won the RSA Chase at the Festival last season and added the Mildmay a month later at Aintree. This will be his toughest test yet though as he faces the likes of the Betfair Chase winner Bristol De Mai and Fox Norton, who will be upped in trip to this distance for the first time.

Our King George VI Chase Antepost Preview can be found here.

Christmas Hurdle (26th December, Kempton Park)

The aptly named Christmas Hurdle is contested over the two mile distance and like the King George will give us big Festival clues, this time for the Champion Hurdle. The race was won last year by Yanworth who was sent off favourite for the big one in March, but he failed to deliver. Previous year’s have included the likes of Faugheen and Binocular, which is proof that this can be a stepping stone to the Cheltenham Festival. Last year’s Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air will be hoping he can do just that as he bids to lay down the gauntlet to Faugheen by winning this contest with authority. His competition includes My Tent Or Yours, who returned this season when defeating The New One in the International Hurdle. They both need to step up if they’re to take it to the Champion Hurdler though, who holds by far the best recent form.

Our Christmas Hurdle Antepost Preview can be found here.

Welsh Grand National (27th December, Chepstow)

One of the most competitive handicaps of the season, this 3m 5f contest has thrown up some smart winners in the past including last year’s Gold Cup third Native River. He obviously won’t be back to defend his crown, but the field still has some very smart horses included. American was hugely disappointing in the Ladbrokes Trophy on his latest start and he will be looking to make amends for Harry Fry, who holds him in high regard. Sugar Baron and Chase The Spud are two horses who arrive in great form and need to be considered alongside Ask The Weatherman.

Our Welsh Grand National Antepost Preview can be found here.

Leopardstown Christmas Steeplechase (Lexus) (28th December, Leopardstown)

Raced over three miles and formerly known as the Lexus Chase, the Leopardstown Christmas Steeplechase is another contest that gives us clues towards the Festival. Many of the competitors will be lining themselves up towards the Gold Cup, with Sizing John looking to further boost his standing after a winning return Punchestown over Djakadam. He’s the antepost favourite but only narrowly, as Yorkhill potentially makes his return. Winner of the 2017 JLT Novices’ Chase, he’s long been thought of as a Gold Cup contender and there is no better time for him to prove it than against the 2017 Gold Cup hero. His jumping is the main concern, as he clearly has the engine but threw away his latest start against Road To Respect after jumping markedly left throughout.

Our Leopardstown Christmas Steeplechase Antepost Preview can be found here.

As always, we’ll be following closely to all the build up and any breaking news can be found on our Twitter – @myracingtips.

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