Kempton Placepot: Wednesday December 26

Long Run is favourite for the King George

Keith Melrose has forgone the leftovers to bring you a Boxing Day perm from Kempton...

"...the likelihood is that either (or both) Henderson runners will make the first three."

12:50 - This should, in theory, offer a gentle start to proceedings. River Maigue split Christmas Hurdle-bound Dodging Bullets and the exciting Court Minstrel in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham's Open Meeting and is likely to take all the beating in this race. There are a few hurdling debutants that look interesting, too, but for our purposes one with solid experience is always going to get the benefit of the doubt.

13:25 - Although the field sits at a comfortable nine, we're still going to need two arrows to fire at this competitive little novices' handicap. First up there's Valmari, who's taken well to jumps and has spots of form over fences that would make him look very well treated from a BHA mark of 126. We'll back him up with the more conventionally-campaigned Milarrow, who has been crying out for a step up in trip this season and gets one here. It's also encouraging that his yard has been back among the winners.

14:00 - The main question posed by the Feltham is whether there's anything to be gained in opposing Dynaste? There's little doubt that this poses his toughest test yet, but such has been the manner of his two victories over fences so far that only a mishap will prevent him from winning, let alone making the first two. Therefore, he's a fairly confident selection.

14:35 - The Christmas Hurdle looks the biggest conundrum of the lot for Placepot hunters, particularly those who think the Fighting Fifth flatters Countrywide Flame. Nevertheless, he's the most solid of the field given likely conditions and is worth a place in our perm, even if, like me, you don't necessarily fancy him to win. For our second slot, take Cinders And Ashes, who should get a lot closer to Countrywide Flame this time with the benefit of a run behind him, and for whom two miles around Kempton is probably ideal.

15:10 - In contrast to the Christmas Hurdle, the King George looks much easier from a Placepot perspective than if you are trying to pick the winner; the likelihood is that either (or both) Henderson runners will make the first three. Long Run's credentials for this race are well known, as he's finished first and second in the last two renewals and, although fears he's not the force of old are valid, his performance when second in the Betfair Chase last month, for which he's entitled to come on for, would see him thereabouts here. Riverside Theatre chased Long Run home in the re-arranged 2010 renewal and has a fine record fresh as well as enough form on soft ground to suggest that won't be an issue.

15:45 - This closing handicap hurdle is as well-contested as you'd expect, while the field size falling underneath the threshold of 16 makes things even trickier. That said, we can place our faith in a couple that we at Timeform have had our eye on for a while. Saint Roque went in the Timeform Notebook following his unfortunate departure in a warm race at the Open Meeting and will likely find conditions in his favour this time. Our second selection is Katkeau, whose British debut in a Grade 3 at Haydock last month was keenly anticipated. He shaped well for a long way that day, still bang in contention when getting three out all wrong, his chance gone with that. Off the same mark today, he looks well worth siding with.

Selections:
12:50 - 8
13:25 - 4, 8
14:00 - 1
14:35 - 1, 2
15:10 - 8, 9
15:45 - 8, 12
= 16 lines  

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