Horse Racing Preview - Yanworth Out To Enhance Champion Day Hurdle Claims at Kempton on Boxing Day
Horse Racing Preview - Yanworth Out To Enhance Champion Day Hurdle Claims at Kempton on Boxing Day

 A look at the ante-post market for this season’s Stan James Champion Hurdle highlights just how strong a grip Irish trainer Willie Mullins has on the championship contest as the master of Closutton is responsible for no less than four of the first five horses in the betting, including the previous two winners of the race in Faugheen and reigning champion Annie Power, with Coral and Paddy Power unable to split the pair as 5-2 joint favourites.

If the current betting is to be believed the only horse with any serious chance of preventing the Irish maestro from claiming win number five in national hunt racing’s most prestigious hurdle race lies with the Alan King-trained Yanworth, a general 8-1 chance but available at 10-1 with both Boylesports and sportingbet. The JP McManus-owned son of Norse Dancer, beaten just the once over hurdles when finding only the Mullins inmate Yorkhill too good in the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle at this year’s festival will attempt to consolidate his championship claims by taking Boxing Day’s 32Red.Com Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

A best price 2-1 with Skybet and Coral to take the Grade 1 contest the six-year-old, not surprisingly, is being challenged for favouritism by a Willie Mullins entry in the shape of Vroum Vroum Mag ( 9-4 Betfred and Stan James ) who lost her unbeaten record since joining the trainer when going down by a short head to Apple’s Jade at Fairyhouse earlier this month. The daughter of Voix Du Nord may not be top of the stable’s Champion Hurdle pecking order but a victory for the mare on Monday would virtually present that race to Mullins with any other outcome almost impossible to contemplate.

Seven horses have been entered for Kempton’s two mile contest at the five-day declaration stage including The New One who was runner-up to fellow rival My Tent Or Yours in 2013 and Faugheen 12 months ago. The popular gelding’s novice chase career was put on hold after a third victory in Cheltenham’s StanJames.Com International Hurdle recently and can be backed at 7-2 with most bookmakers to follow up on Boxing Day's horse racing results. Ch’Tibello ( 10-1 Betvictor and William Hill ) is likely to represent the Dan Skelton stable and the possible field is completed by rank outsider Grey Wolf River, an unconsidered 5000-1 shot with the race sponsor.

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