Our Boxing Day Follow The Money column focuses solely on the action from Kempton.
"Believe it or not this is Cue Card’s first ever try on ground with good in the description over a 3m trip - a massive positive for a horse that tries to gallop his rivals into submission."
Back Cue Card @ 7.87/1 in the 15:10 at Kempton
We start in the 12:50 2m Novices Hurdle with a back selection on the Harry Fry-trained Jollyallan. This five-year-old has been backed from a high of 4.03/1 in to a current price of 2.915/8. The money is perhaps even more significant when you consider he is up against horses from yards such as Mullins, Henderson and Ferguson. Our selection is two from two over hurdles with a workmanlike, yet perhaps green, victory at Exeter first time out, then followed that up with a comfortable success at Newbury. So it is good to see that such a young horse can battle when needed but still had the class to win on the bridle next time out. The form from those races is most likely not up to much, but his sixth in the Punchestown Bumper in April will work out to be superb form as it is hard not to see multiple Grade horses emerging from it in the future. If Jollyallan appears to be as good as the money suggests then this could be some animal. A back at 2.915/8 could be a great way to start the day.
Our lay of the day take his place in the Kauto Star Novices Chase at 14:00. The Paul Nicholls-trained Saphir Du Rheu has drifted from a low of 2.021/1 earlier in the week, to a current trading price of 2.447/5. This five-year-old was a revelation last season, surging up the Handicap ratings by finishing the campaign rated 165. He started this season with an unseat at Newbury, but followed that up a week later with a comfortable success at Exeter to show that there is some jumping ability there. Today's opposition have all won at least one chase and have some form over fences that has to be respected and have all won over the distance. We're not saying that Saphir Du Rheu will not get the trip, but it very hard to back a horse at such skinny odds in conditions he has not experienced before. In the long term he will most likely turn out the best chaser in this field from what has been shown so far, but the market suggests today is not the day.
We now move to the race that everybody has been waiting weeks to see. The 15:10 King George VI Chase is arguably the most anticipated race of the National Hunt Calendar, Cheltenham Festival and Grand National aside. This year's renewal is looks set to be one of the most competitive in years. But backers clearly feel they have found the winner, with Cue Card starting the week at a price of 9.08/1 and now trading around the 7.87/1. On a normal day this may not sound like a very significant move, but when you consider this is a race that has matched more than £500k and typically you don't see massive movers in the better races, this has to be noted.
Last year's runner up ended his season on that day getting passed in the final two furlongs by today's favourite Silviniaco Conti. Some say he idled, some say he didn't stay, nobody will ever know for sure, but he was beaten by a true stayer that day who found conditions in his favour. Today is different - believe it or not this is Cue Card's first ever try on ground with good in the description over a 3m trip - a massive positive for a horse that tries to gallop his rivals into submission. There are rumours he may be held up today and delivered later with a challenge, something that may hinder his chances from the start with him having previous or pulling early on. If he bowls on in his usual manner and the two early season blows at Exeter and Haydock have got him match fit then it's going to take a true champion to catch him this time around. The 7.87/1 available now is great value, even if it is as a back-to-lay in the run.
Back Jollyallan @ 2.915/8 in the 12:50
Lay Saphir Du Rhei @ 2.447/5 in the 14:00
Back Cue Card @ 7.87/1 in the 15:10