1pt win Frodon @4/1, 14:05 Kempton, Boxing Day

One of three Grade 1 races on Kempton’s famous Boxing Day card, the three-mile Kauto Star Novices’ Chase is notoriously tricky to call and this year looks no different.

It must be a decent betting heat with Anibale Fly trading a 3/1 favourite – the Tony Martin-trained J P McManus-owned gelding has hardly done enough in his short chasing career to justify such prohibitive odds.

He was second in Grade 1 novice company behind Coney Island last time out at Fairyhouse, but there’s plenty of reason to doubt the strength of that form with few of his opponents prominent in markets for the Cheltenham Festival.

I think FRODON (7/2) deserves to be favourite after his win in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham earlier this month, so perhaps Paul Nicholls’s four-year-old is the value call.

His sound jumping contradicts his inexperience over fences, and to win such a valuable and competitive chase at such an early point in his career was very impressive.

He goes on any ground and is improving with each start, so he has all the hallmarks of an improving chaser destined for Grade 1 honours.

The 7lbs he receives for his age gives him a big chance – and though this race comes quite soon after that Cheltenham success all reports from Nicholls suggest he’s primed to run a blinder.

I do like Nicholls’s other runner Present Man after his defeat of the talented O O Seven last time out, so stable jockey Sam Twiston-Davies’s decision to stick with Frodon looks significant.

It’s no foregone conclusion, but right now Frodon is one of those improving horses worth following until his limitations are exposed – and this doesn’t look that deep a race.

The step up in trip is an unknown but, with the horse already proven on any ground, he’s worth backing.

1pt win Frodon @4/1, 14:05 Kempton, Boxing Day (Ladbrokes)

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