Horse racing tips for Aintree and Kempton on Boxing Day

Horse racing tips for Aintree and Kempton on Boxing Day

Timeform mark your card with a ratings choice, a big improver and a Flag to note at Aintree and Kempton on Boxing Day.

The Ratings Choice

July Flower – 13:05 Aintree

The highlight of Aintree’s new Boxing Day fixture is the Formby Novices’ Hurdle, a Grade 1 contest which has replaced Sandown’s Tolworth Hurdle in the calendar. A ten-runner field full of improvers suggests that’s been a good move but the one who stands out on her French form is the four-year-old filly July Flower.

She’s been to Aintree before, when underperforming in the mares’ bumper at the Grand National meeting on her only start for Henry de Bromhead, but she’s done nothing wrong for her French trainer Mickael Seror for whom she won a Group 1 bumper last season. She also won her first two starts over hurdles at Auteuil in the autumn before showing smart form there last time in the Prix Renaud du Vivier when two and a half lengths second to the top French four-year-old hurdler Losange Bleu.

Back in the hood which she wore for her hurdling debut, July Flower will be hard to be in receipt of weight from all her male rivals if running anywhere near the form she showed last time.

The Big Improver

Heros – 14:50 Aintree

Heros didn’t look to be anything out of the ordinary as a hurdler in his first season with Venetia Williams, failing to win in seven starts, but it’s been a very different story since he was switched to fences in the last couple of months when his stable has been in red-hot form.

Heros jumped and travelled well when beating fellow novices on his chasing debut in a handicap at Taunton in November and then followed up over the same course and distance earlier this month in a race that looks worth treating positively. Heros had less to spare this time up against more seasoned rivals but made most of the running, again travelling well, before Charlie Deutsch just had to shake him up to see off runner-up Raffle Ticket by a head, the pair of them finishing clear of the remainder.

Getting in off bottom weight back against novices this time, Heros appeals as one who’ll keep ahead of the BHA handicapper for a while yet, particularly with the prospect of further improvement to come.

The Timeform Flag

Hermes Allen – 13:20 Kempton

Flags: Horse In Focus, Hot Trainer, Top-Rated

‘Hot Trainer’ Paul Nicholls reportedly had Knappers Hill lined up for a bid to win the trainer a sixth Kauto Star Novices’ Chase but with that one unfortunately sidelined, Hermes Allen looks a more than able substitute.

He made an excellent start over hurdles last term, winning his first three races, notably the Grade 1 Challow Novices’ at Newbury. While Hermes Allen found things tougher at Cheltenham and Aintree in the spring, he returned from a breathing operation over the summer with an impressive debut over fences in the Berkshire Novices’ Chase back at Newbury early this month.

Travelling well and putting in a solid round of jumping, Hermes Allen led soon after three out and was soon clear to beat Nickle Back by six and a half lengths. With the runner-up already having smart form to his name in handicaps, Hermes Allen ran to a high level for one having his first start over fences and he looks to have the potential to be one of the best in the novice chase division whilst also likely to be all the sharper for his chasing debut.

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