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Thursday 24 January 2019

Santini all set to star on huge day for Henderson

CLASS: Santini and Might Bite can score at Grade One level at Kempton for Nicky Henderson. Photo: Edward Whitaker
CLASS: Santini and Might Bite can score at Grade One level at Kempton for Nicky Henderson. Photo: Edward Whitaker

It's the biggest day of racing on the calendar with action coming to us from all over the place.

The two big meetings are at Leopardstown, of course, and across the water at Kempton, while Limerick also serves up a real treat with some high-class racing.

It's Kempton we turn to first and it looks like champion trainer Nicky Henderson can have it right off with some of his stable stars.

Buveur D'Air looks unbeatable in the Christmas Hurdle, but the odds reflect that and it's SANTINI (1.55 Kempton) and MIGHT BITE (3.05 Kempton) that can pay for the St Stephen's Day drinks.

Santini faces stiff opposition in the 32Red Kauto Star Novices' Chase, but he was a high-class novice hurdler last season and went off an 11/4 favourite for the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival.

He could only finish third that day but it was still a very successful campaign as he had previously won a Grade Two at the track and followed up by taking the Sefton at Aintree subsequent to his Festival reverse.

This season he has only been seen once, when making a really pleasing debut over fences at Newbury at the start of the month.

He jumped well in the main in that Grade Two Ladbrokes John Francome Novices' Chase, beating Rocky's Treasure by four lengths.

Strong

That one has been out since and absolutely bolted in to win his own Grade Two at Doncaster a couple of weeks ago, so the form looks strong.

We can expect Santini to come on a bit for that run too, as well as his jumping to improve too, so even though it's an excellent renewal of the race, he is a confident selection.

In the big one, the King George, Might Bite can retain the crown he won last year on a track that clearly suits.

He's flashy and quick - and even a bit mad - but he was imperious in this race last year and can do the business again.

Similar sentiments apply to the Santini race in that it's an extremely classy renewal but Might Bite is a classy animal and will be much more at home on this tight track and easier fences than he faced at Haydock last time.

Haydock came in for criticism for the stiffness of their fences during Might Bite's Betfair Chase flop and he will have been schooled extensively since then.

He was spooked and ran no sort of race and we can always forgive a horse one bad spin - if the real Might Bite turns up here he'll take a fair amount of beating.

At home in Leopardstown, CITY ISLAND (12.40 Leopardstown) can make up for being disqualified at the Galway Festival after he passed the post in front.

The Bumper winner had the likes of Getareason and Debuchet in behind that day and should be very difficult to beat with a reproduction of that effort.

At the time of writing, SHARE THE HONOUR (1.45 Leopardstown) is a double figure price in the Sky Sports Racing Novice Handicap Hurdle but that may disappear come the drop of the flag.

Lurking down at the bottom of the handicap, and with Paul Townend booked, he looks very dangerous coming in off the back of a decent effort at Navan.

In the 'Bet Through The Racing Post App' Handicap Chase, TISAMYSTERY (2.55 Leopardstown) will be primed and ready for a big run for Henry de Bromhead.

He was second last time at Cork in a race that is working out well already and, with that being his first run since the summer, he should come on for it and give a good account of himself at a price.

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