Kempton’s Boxing Day fixture promises to be an absolute cracker and our sole runner on the card, Bells ‘N‘ Banjos (3.45), will need to produce a career best effort if he’s to follow up his easy Fontwell success, but don’t be surprised if he does. Bells has been hiked up a stone for his 14-length win in desperate ground last month and there is no doubt that this is a much stronger contest, but he’s come on for that run and I’m convinced he’s still got more to offer over hurdles, so I’m not ruling out a big run.

The King George is a mouth-watering race this year and I fancy Smad Place to run a cracker at a decent price. I was hugely impressed with his Hennessy win and although this is a big step up in class, I wouldn’t underestimate Alan King’s bold jumping grey. He looks a decent each-way bet to me.

Dolatulo is our highest-profile runner of the day as he bids to follow up last year’s win in the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby (1.45). Gavin [Sheehan] is going up there to ride him and everything looks in place for another big run. He came out of his race at Aintree really well and he’s been in tip top form at home. He’s 7lb higher than when winning last year but don’t forget, he had a wind operation over the summer and I’ve got no doubt that he’s good enough to win off this mark. We’re very hopeful that he can win it again.

The Missus and Alzammaar are both due to run at Wincanton but there is a lot of rain forecast to fall on the track before then and neither would run if it gets really testing down there. They wouldn’t have much chance on that ground even if they did run.

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We could have runners at Wetherby on Sunday where Caitys Joy (12.25), who is owned by Simon Munir, could make her debut over hurdles. She was a decent bumper mare last year and we have been looking forward to getting her going this year but she picked up an injury in November, which set her back. She is back in A1 shape at home again now, her schooling has been good and I think she looks a stronger horse this year so there is plenty to be optimistic about. My only concern is the ground, because she wouldn’t want it too testing. If she handles the ground she goes there with a very decent chance.

We have a few options for Vinciaettis, one of which is the novices’ hurdle (12.55), but wherever this gelding goes he will carry plenty of confidence. He is 2-2 in bumpers and is an exciting type for novice hurdles. He has schooled really well and is well worth keeping an eye out for.

Three Colours Red (2.05) could make his debut for us in the juvenile hurdle. He’s a former Flat horse from Ireland who came to us in October and he has gone okay at home, without setting the world alight. I was told by his former trainer that he wouldn’t be the most exciting work horse I would ever have, and it looks like he’s right, but he’s definitely got plenty of ability and don’t be surprised if he takes well to hurdles.

Next week is going to be busy so I’ll be back early in the week to run through all of my runners.

Merry Christmas from everyone at Uplands,

Warren

Dolatulo - 1pt @ 5.5