Cyrname has another go at his stablemate Clan Des Obeaux (3.00) but the outcome of Saturday’s King George VI Chase may be the same as last year, with Clan set to win the midwinter championship for a third consecutive year. Odds of 2-1 are not at all bad for a horse who is so obviously suited by this course, distance and time of year, but reflect the fact that Paul Nicholls has made a determined effort to improve Cyrname’s chance this time.
While he emptied himself in beating Altior in his prep race last year, Cyrname had a less taxing round in the Charlie Hall this time and has had longer to recover. But the exuberance he showed in the early part of that race looks like part of the problem, that he doesn’t settle well enough to see out three miles in a top-class contest.
Conversely, Santini needs more of a stamina test, while Lostintranslation has plenty to prove after his Haydock flop. Saint Calvados makes some each-way appeal at 16-1 on the strength of his narrow Ryanair defeat to Min.
1.15 Kempton A couple of Ps are the most recent form figures for Son Of Camas, which will deter some, but one was in a Cheltenham Festival novice hurdle and one was a needed reappearance run. He has always been a chasing prospect and now makes his debut over fences from a handy rating in a race his trainer has won twice in the past decade. This chestnut has plenty more to offer.
1.50 Kempton His only hurdles win was in a maiden contest at Southwell but Shan Blue had some decent form in defeat and has now made up into a top-class novice chaser. He put in a really accomplished round of jumping at Wetherby last time and the runner-up, beaten 16 lengths, won a decent handicap next time. If The Cap Fits has a higher rating but did not run to that level in a less challenging contest last time.
Chris Cook’s Boxing Day tips
11.50 Hollymount Holly 12.20 Mill Race King (nb) 12.53 Imperial Icon 1.28 Johnbb 2.05 Spiritofthegames 2.40 Sam’s Gunner 3.13 Trooper Turnbull
12.25 La Reine Poutine 12.59 Momella 1.34 Sizing Cusimano 2.10 Guetapan Collonges 2.45 Southfield Harvest 3.19 Ouro Branco 3.50 Kandoo Kid
12.40 Third Time Lucki 1.15 Son Of Camas (nap) 1.50 Shan Blue 2.25 Epatante 3.00 Clan Des Obeaux 3.35 Barbados Blue
1.45 Fashion Free 2.20 Make It Rain 2.55 Bashful Boy 3.30 Papa Stour 4.05 Boosala 4.35 Blue Moonrise 5.05 Sweet Bertie
2.05 Wetherby Stepping up to three miles looks the right move for Canelo but his best efforts have come on better ground than he gets here. This is a better chance than Spiritofthegames usually gets, as he has been repeatedly sent to Cheltenham, and he gets to run off the same mark as when second in the Paddy Power, beaten only by a well-treated rival who got the run of the race.
2.25 Kempton This looks another uncompetitive Christmas Hurdle, a race won by the market-leader five times in the past six years and by Nicky Henderson seven times in the past decade. His Epatante is the unbeatable one in this division just now and the combined grit of Ballyandy and Silver Streak seems unlikely to change that.