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The Week Ahead
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The Racing Week Ahead: A feast of festive action

There is a lot to look forward to over the festive period in the UK and Ireland, with major cards coming from both sides of the Irish Sea.

On Boxing Day, the King George VI Chase is the feature race at Kempton, the Welsh Grand National takes place on Tuesday at Chepstow, while on Saturday, the Challow Novices' Hurdle is scheduled to be run at Newbury.

All the UK and Irish action can be followed via our Sports Live Streaming platform and here's a day-by-day look ahead to the racing week in store from Monday 26th December to Sunday 1st January.

Monday 26th December

As is tradition, there is no shortage of racing on Boxing Day. There are 11 meetings in the UK and Ireland on Boxing Day, with Kempton's card (12.10-3.40) being the highlight. Four Grade One races are scheduled at the Surrey racecourse, including the King George VI Chase. It looks like a strong renewal this year, with Bravemansgame, L'Homme Presse, Hitman and Envoi Allen all entered.

In Ireland, it is the opening day of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival (12.00-3.30). Gordon Elliott has two of the leading contenders in the Grade One Brand New Racing Post App Novice Chase at 2.20 with Fil Dor and Hollow Games.

Elsewhere on Boxing Day, they race at Down Royal (11.40-3.08), Newcastle (11.45-3.10), Wetherby (11.52-3.20), Market Rasen (11.55-3.25), Fontwell (11.57-3.27), Huntingdon (12.05-3.32), Wincanton (12.18-3.45), Limerick (12.25-3.50) and Wolverhampton (AW) (1.50-5.20).

Tuesday 27th December

It is Welsh Grand National Day at Chepstow (12.00-3.55) as the top-class festive racing continues on Tuesday. Venetia Williams is bidding to win this race for the third time and saddles one of the leading contenders in Quick Wave, as she looks to successfully follow up from her victory in the London National at Sandown earlier this month.

At Kempton (12.45-3.40), Tingle Creek winner Edwardstone bids to win another major prize this season as he is the star attraction in the Grade Two Desert Orchid Chase at 2.30.

There are two Grade One races in Ireland on day two of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival (12.05-3.35). Chacun Pour Soi and Blue Lord both feature in the Paddy's Rewards Club Chase at 1.10, while at 1.45, Facile Vega will be expected to land the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle.

Racing on Bank Holiday Tuesday also comes from Wetherby (11.50-3.20), Limerick (12.19-3.49) and Wolverhampton (4.30-7.30).

Wednesday 28th December

Five meetings take place in the UK and Ireland on Wednesday, including at Leopardstown (12.00-3.30) were they get things underway for day three of their Christmas Festival. Other jumps cards then follow from Leicester (12.10-3.40), Limerick (12.20-3.45) and Catterick (12.28-3.25), while later in the afternoon, Newcastle (3.20-6.25) host a seven-race AW meeting.

Last season's Cheltenham Gold Cup winner A Plus Tard makes a return to action in the Grade One Savills Chase at Leopardstown at 2.20 as he bids to bounce back from a disappointing performance in the Betfair Chase on his seasonal reappearances. Earlier on the card, Flooring Porter, Klassical Dream and Bob Olinger are all entered in the Grade One Christmas Hurdle at 1.45.

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Thursday 29th December 

Five racecourses host racing on Thursday in the UK and Ireland. Jumps cards come from Kelso (11.53-3.20), Leopardstown (12.00-3.25), Doncaster (12.10-3.40) and Limerick (12.20-3.35), while there is an all-weather meeting at Southwell (4.00-7.00).

It is the final day of the Christmas Festival at Leopardstown. Gordon Elliott has a strong hand in the Grade One Neville Hotels Novice Chase at 1.45 with Three Stripe Life, Minella Crooner and Gerri Colombe. They are all scheduled to take on Gaillard Du Mesnil from Willie Mullins' yard.

In the Grade One Matheson Hurdle at 2.20, State Man will be looking to land his third straight victory at the history level.

Friday 30th December 

Haydock (12.30-3.30), Taunton (12.45-3.45) and Wolverhampton (AW) (4.00-7.00) feature on Friday's schedule. 

The 2.15 at Taunton is the feature contest, a Listed race for mares over hurdles. Ahorsewithnoname finished second in the Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival back in March. He has been successful twice on the Flat over the summer and she is the highest-rated runner in this race.

Saturday 31st December 

The final Grade One contest of the year comes from Newbury (12.10-3.35) with the Challow Novices' Hurdle at 3.00. The Kim Bailey-trained Chianti Classico is fancied to build on his impressive bumper form from last season.

Lingfield (AW) (11.50-3.15), Warwick (11.55-3.20), Uttoxeter (12.03-3.28) and Punchestown (12.15-3.42) are all also on the schedule on New Year's Eve.

Sunday 1st January 

It is a busy start to the New Year with racing coming from Cheltenham (12.10-3.40), Exeter (12.20-3.50), Musselburgh (12.25-3.20), Fakenham (12.35-3.30), Catterick (12.40-3.35) and Southwell (AW) (2.16-5.26).

The Grade Two Relkeel Hurdle is the feature race at Prestbury Park at 2.30, while up at Musselburgh, it is the Hogmaneigh Handicap Hurdle at 2.45.

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