Christmas Hurdle Betting Tips – 26th December 2017

Publish: 26.05.2018

Kempton Park is the place to head on Boxing Day for the best of a very strong day’s post-Christmas racing.

The card at the Surrey venue is headlined by the King George VI Chase but it’s backed up by several other mouth-watering races. The Grade 1, two mile Christmas Hurdle is very much included in that number even if race goers won’t have the chance to see Buveur D’air and Faugheen face off as initially hoped.

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We’ll have to wait until the Champion Hurdle now before those two meet (providing they both stay fit) but can Buveur D’air justify his favouritism for the big one at Cheltenham with a Boxing Day win at Kempton?

Past Five Winners

2016 – Yanworth, aged 6, ridden by Barry Geraghty, trained by Alan King
2015 – Faugheen, aged 7, ridden by Ruby Walsh, trained by Willie Mullins
2014 – Faugheen, aged 6, ridden by Ruby Walsh, trained by Willie Mullins
2013 – My Tent Or Yours, aged 6, ridden by Tony McCoy, trained by Nicky Henderson
2012 – Darlan, aged 5, ridden by Tony McCoy, trained by Nicky Henderson

Can You Justify Backing a 1/4 Shot?

The absence of Faugheen from the Christmas Hurdle leaves us with one very, very short favourite.

The best price you can find on Buveur D’air is the 1/4 that Paddy Power are quoting. While that may be an accurate reflection of the six-year-old’s chances, can anybody justify backing him at that price?

The case for backing him is relatively straight forward – if everything goes to plan, Buveur D’air wins the race. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take as they say and backing Nicky Henderson’s horse (who has won each of his last seven starts including the 2016 Champion Hurdle) will make you more money than not.

The problem comes with the inherent risk of short odds betting. It’s going to take a sizeable stake to win back anything of any note.

In the end, we’re going to recommend backing Buveur D’air because we’re sure he’ll win. Whether you want to follow that advice is very much up to you.

Which Options to Take for an Each-Way Bet?

With such a strong favourite, the best betting puzzle looks to be which horse will come second. Closer to the off many bookies will offer markets for the winner without Buveur D’air but for now the thing to do is to find an each-way bet who can pay out nicely from a place.

The leading contenders for second place as far as we’re concerned are The New One (9/2 with 888Sport) and Old Guard (12/1 with Unibet).

The New One was well backed for his recent appearance at Cheltenham in the International Hurdle. We were worried at the time that people would get involved because of a heart over head decision and so it proved as he was pipped by My Tent Or Yours.

Nevertheless, the nine-year-old’s performance was impressive enough and he’s got every chance of second place for Nicky Henderson.

Old Guard was also in that Cheltenham contest but he could only claim fifth place out of seven. Paul Nicholls was rightly disappointed with that result but there is plenty of time left for this talented six-year-old to improve.

Old Guard’s win in the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle suggests that he’s happier over a longer distance than two miles. But if the pace is fast early on and he doesn’t have too much to do in the closing stages, things could go better for Old Guard at Kempton than they did at Cheltenham.

Nicholls’ horse has already won over two miles at Kempton this season and while this is a big step up in class, we’re happy to take a chance that he’ll improve and be the best of the rest.

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