Paul Callaghan’s Boxing Day Racing Tips At Kempton, Wetherby & Leopardstown

Former jockey and now broadcaster Paul Callaghan takes a look at today’s feature races on Boxing Day at Kempton, Wetherby and Leopardstown.


1.50 – Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race) over 3 miles.

Shan Blue is two from two over fences. The strength of those races are questionable but he could not have been more impressive and is not passed over lightly.

I do like The Big Breakaway, trained by Colin Tizzard and ridden by BoyleSports’ horse racing ambassador Robbie Power. He made a pleasing debut over fences at Cheltenham in November, only to suffer a shock defeat to Bold Plan at Exeter earlier this month.

The Big Breakaway made his own running at Exeter, he was having a good look around in front and I would expect that run to have sharpened him up for this assignment. He’s a horse with huge potential, a hefty price tag to justify and I expect him to get back on track here.

2.25 – Christmas Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race) over 2 miles.

Not a race to get stuck in to, but as it’s a Grade 1 contest with the current champion hurdler and favourite to retain her crown, Epatante, she should take care of her rivals comfortably barring disaster. One to sit back and enjoy or indeed if you want to bet maybe put her in your multi-bets.

3pm – King George VI Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race) over 3 miles.

Clan Des Obeaux won the last two renewals of the race and was very impressive last year when scoring by 21 lengths.

Cyrname was very impressive when winning on his seasonal reappearance at Wetherby in the Charlie Hall Chase and looks almost certain to play a part.

Santini was supplemented earlier this week and I could see him running well – without winning. He’s a horse that gives me the impression that he would follow a steam train the length of the country, but ask him to go past and he may just ask you why?! I think when he wins, it will be a well judged and well timed ride, possibly one worthy of the “ride of the month” award.

I’m following the heart here and siding with Lostintranslation. He’s a horse I absolutely adore. I fancied him to go through last season unbeaten, so I was quite disappointed following his lacklustre performance in this race 12 months ago.

He ran a cracker to finish third in the Gold Cup in March but was slightly disappointing on his return this season, having not handled the heavy ground at Haydock.

Conditions will suit on Saturday afternoon and I for one will be fairly deflated if Lostintranslation is not in with a fighting chance on the approach to the final fence. The selection is partnered once again by BoyleSports’ horse racing ambassador Robbie Power.

I wouldn’t put anybody off having a small each way wager on the northern raider, Waiting Patiently, for trainer Ruth Jefferson and champion jockey Brian Hughes.

With little miles on the clock, he’s a horse who has clearly had his problems. He was sent off at 4/1 in this race in 2018 only to get badly hampered on landing at the ninth fence and part company with Hughes. The trip is a question mark, but if he’s going to get 3 miles anywhere, it will be at Kempton.


2.05 – Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (GBB Race) over 3 miles.

The Dutchman is interesting for trainer Tristan Davidson and jockey Tommy Dowson. However, I am going to side with the Kim Bailey trained Wandrin Star, ridden by David Bass.

Wandrin Star finished second in a good handicap chase at Ascot on his last run, which was his first start since having wind surgery. The handicapper has raised him 4 pounds, which I think is fair and if building on that Ascot run, looks sure to play a part.


1.05 – Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2) over 2 miles.

Another one for the multi-bets, with the Gordon Elliott trained Zanahiyr hard to oppose in this. He’s two from two over hurdles which include an impressive victory in Grade 3 company on his last start. Ridden by Jack Kennedy, Zanahir should make it three from three.

2.15 – Novice Chase (Grade 1) over 2 miles 1 furlong.

Felix Desjy was a good winner of a Grade 2 at Punchestown last month. He had Darver Star a little over 9 lengths behind in third. The ground was soft to heavy on that occasion.

Keep an eye on the weather at Leopardstown. At the time of writing, the going is currently yielding and if it doesn’t get any worse, I fully expect Darver Star to bridge that gap and even reverse that form with Felix Desjy.

Darver Star impressed on chasing debut at Punchestown in October. That win was on yielding ground, so if the rain stays away, I’ll side with the Gavin Cromwell trained runner, who is partnered by Jonathan Moore.

Get those bets on early, have your horse trackers at the ready and sit back and enjoy all the action!