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King George VI Chase
Much of the pre-race hype surrounding the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day has been focused on Cue Card, who is a worthy favourite for this prestigious contest following his victory in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last month.
However, with Colin Tizzard’s stable star firmly under the spotlight, SILVINIACO CONTI has rather slipped under the radar in the build-up, and he rates a cracking bet at 11/2 with Paddy Power to provide Paul Nicholls with an eighth King George winner.
He was third behind Cue Card in the Betfair Chase, but he was conceding race-fitness to the winner on that occasion and, in any case, Nicholls’ stable wasn’t firing on all cylinders at the time.
It’s all systems go at Ditcheat now, though – Nicholls boasts a 26 per cent strike-rate with his runners this month – and Silviniaco Conti’s claims have been enhanced greatly by the recent rainfall, which will ensure that stamina will be at a premium in Thursday’s show-piece.
The seven-year-old looks tailor-made for this assignment. You need a quick, accurate jumper at Kempton and Silviniaco Conti has few peers in the jumping department, while his tactical versatility will also be an asset.
The selection’s stable companion Al Ferof didn’t achieve a great deal when landing a 2-runner event on his return from injury at Ascot last month, but he certainly proved his well-being and the grey could still have more to offer as a chaser, so has to be respected.
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Dynaste, who was runner-up in the Betfair Chase, landed the Grade 1 Feltham Novices’ Chase over C&D on this card 12 months ago and he looks sure to make a bold bid to provide the Pipe yard with its first King George winner.
The main concern where Cue Card is concerned is health, as the Tizzard stable has been engulfed by a low-grade virus in recent weeks. Just one of the yard’s 19 runners so far this month has emerged victorious, which has to be a worry.
The Christmas Hurdle
While the King George takes centre stage at Kempton on Boxing Day, the clash between two of the market leaders in the ante-post Champion Hurdle betting, My Tent Or Yours and The New One, in the williamhill.com Christmas Hurdle promises to be a real spectacle.
While The New One was impressive on his seasonal reappearance over C&D in October, there’s little doubt that he looks more at home on a stiffer track, as he illustrated when following-up in the Grade 2 International Hurdle at Cheltenham 12 days ago.
Consequently, MY TENT OR YOURS, who can be backed at 6/5 with Bet Victor and Ladbrokes at the time of writing, is taken to provide the Nicky Henderson-Tony McCoy combination with a fourth consecutive victory in this valuable contest.
The precocious six-year-old did the job in good style when scoring on his return in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle, and he is better equipped than The New One to cope should this race become tactical.