Shrewd Operator: JP McManus runners to watch in the betting over the festive period ☘️

JP McManus

Tis the season of festive cheer, and incredible racing from Kempton on Boxing Day! The King George is the feature race of Christmas and we’re going to be treated to one of the most classy and competitive renewals in recent memory. There are a plethora of Grade 1s in Ireland and we’ll have horse racing tips for all the action.

One owner who will be hoping to have a brilliant Christmas is JP McManus. His green and gold hoops are a racing staple and he has several big chances over the holiday period. You can find the analysis on all his key runners below.

2.30 Kempton (26th) – Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle

In terms of odds, Epatante is JP McManus’s best chance of gaining a Grade 1 winner over Christmas. An impressive winner of the race in 2019, she went on to win the 2020 Champion Hurdle, before adding the Fighting Fifth to her trophy cabinet to kick off last season.

She suffered a shock 1-5 defeat in this race twelve months ago, however, before defeats at Cheltenham and Punchestown. Although she’s perhaps below her best at present, she has a good record at Kempton in the main and if she runs as well as we know she can, she should be winning this cosily.

3.05 Kempton (26th) – Ladbrokes King George VI Chase

A dual Grade 1 winner as a novice, Chantry House could have the perfect profile for the King George. Winner of the 2m 4f Marsh at the Cheltenham Festival, he stepped up in trip effortlessly to land the 3m 1f Mildmay at Aintree to cap off the season.

We learned little about him in a match race on return, but he looks to have the perfect mix of speed and stamina for a race such as this. He settles effortlessly during his races and at a sharp track like Kempton, his speed will certainly come into play as they turn for home.

1.40 Chepstow (27th) – Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle

He’s likely to be a bigger price, but keep an eye on Iroko in this Grade 1 contest. Trained in France by Emmanuel Clayeux, he finished a promising second on his hurdling debut at Auteuil in September. The winner of that race has followed up since and the third has also scored twice, which gives the form an interesting look.

His pedigree suggests he can be a very useful performer in this sphere and any market support would be very interesting.

2.50 Chepstow (27th) – Coral Welsh Grand National Handicap Chase

Just the one runner in the Welsh Grand National for McManus and it is Kimberlite Candy. Runner-up in a pair of Becher Chases for Tom Lacey, a runaway victory in the Classic Chase at Warwick sandwiches those near-misses.

Pulled-up in the 2021 Grand National, he was unable to continue his good record in the Becher last time, though he wasn’t entirely disgraced. He’s now fallen to a workable rating on 2019’s best form and with soft ground a positive, he’s an each-way player.

2.55 Leopardstown (27th) – Paddy Power Chase

McManus has several entries in this contest but the Noel Meade-trained School Boy Hours is the one who catches the eye. Perhaps what makes him the most interesting is his record fresh, as after breaks of 50 days or more, his record reads 21324.

He has some very smart form in the book, including a two-length defeat to Grade 1 winner Latest Exhibition in a non-handicap. Three miles on a softer surface should prove ideal for him and off a rating of 133, he has to enter the discussion.

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