Ante-post favourite Allaho heads a field of six for the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Willie Mullins’ runner has won eight of his 13 chase starts to date, including two wide-margin Ryanair Chase verdicts and a similarly impressive Punchestown Gold Cup win in 2022.
He made a satisfactory return to action after a 561-day absence at Clonmel last month and is short price for the Christmas highlight.
Last year’s victor Bravemansgame returns to defend his title for Paul Nicholls, although his campaign has not gone to plan so far this term with the eight-year-old having suffered odds-on defeats in both the Charlie Hall at Wetherby and the Betfair Chase at Haydock.
Frodon, winner of the race in 2020, gives Nicholls a second string to his bow, with regular partner Bryony Frost taking the ride.
The Nicky Henderson-trained Shishkin is also on something of a redemption mission as he makes his seasonal bow. He refused to start at Ascot last month while a planned Fighting Fifth Hurdle prep was scuppered by testing ground at Sandown.
The Real Whacker, winner of the Brown Advisory at Cheltenham last term, and Shark Hanlon’s Hewick complete the line up, with Gerri Colombe and Royale Pagaille absentees as expected.
The champ is back!
Constitution Hill is the headline act in the Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle, which also has six contenders.
Henderson’s two-mile champion is long odds-on to extend his unbeaten run over obstacles, with the Nicholls-trained Rubaud the next best on ratings, albeit some 26lb behind.
The favourite will be joined by stablemate First Street, with Kerry Lee potentially double-handed with Black Poppy and Nemean Lion. Alan King’s Sceau Royal is the other runner.
Il Est Francais represents France in the Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase. Trained by Noel George and Amanda Zetterholm, Il Est Francais has been a dominant force at home and has five rivals at Kempton, led by Nicholls’ Hermes Allen.
Giovinco, Kilbeg King, Marble Sands and Tightenourbelts also line up, with no Irish representation after Mullins and Gordon Elliott did not declare Grangeclare West, Klassical Dream or Imagine respectively.
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