Your 2019 Christmas Sports Guide
If you love watching the best of the Christmas sports action as much as we do here at Betting Gods, you probably try and organize your festivities around the top Christmas horse racing meetings and Premier League football games.
If that’s the case, keep reading as we’ve put together a quick 2019 Christmas sports guide, so you don’t have to miss any of the action. Even if it means recording it and watching it when the kids have gone to sleep some days.
There are some great horse racing Christmas crackers to look forward to, starting with the aperitif that is Ascot’s Family Raceday on the 21st December. Kempton’s Ladbrokes Christmas Festival, Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival, and the Welsh National at Chepstow all follow, before the horse racing action concludes with Cheltenham’s New Year’s Day meeting.
There are plenty of big Premier League festive football matches too, including Manchester City vs Leicester, Spurs vs Chelsea, and Arsenal vs Manchester United.
Ascot Races (Sat 21 December)
Christmas Family Raceday at Ascot is not to be missed, whether you’re watching it on TV, in the bookies, or going in person. The main racing highlight is the Grade 1 Marsh Hurdle (formerly the Long Walk Hurdle) and champion stayer Paisley Park has back-to-back victories high on his list of targets.
If you’re thinking of heading to Ascot, you can also look forward to seeing Father Christmas, listening to Mrs. Christmas’s stories, face painting, and festive cocktails – simply a great Christmas aperitif.
Manchester City vs Leicester (21 December, 5.30pm)
Manchester City have won their last three home matches against Leicester, but this year’s Leicester team could be even better than the one that won the Premier League in 2015/16. They’ve progressed rapidly under manager Brendan Roger in a short space of time and look sure to play a big part in deciding who wins this season’s Premier League Title. This potential Christmas cracker looks a great way to get in the mood for a big menu of festive football.
Spurs vs Chelsea (22 December, 4.30pm)
There’s nothing like a good London Derby to get the Christmas juices flowing and this one looks sure to be a tasty treat. Tottenham have won two of their last three home games against Chelsea, but Mauricio Pochettino’s side haven’t been at their best at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium so far this season, whilst Frank Lampard’s young Chelsea side have been playing with a refreshing passion. It’s normally a contest that produces plenty of goals – so let’s hope for more of the same.
Kempton Races (Boxing Day)
After five days of going cold turkey without any racing, there’s no better winter warmer than eating some Christmas leftovers whilst watching the first day of the Ladbrokes Christmas Festival at Kempton. The King George VI Chase is the highlight and 2019 could see a vintage renewal with Altior set to step up in trip to take on exciting young chaser Cyrname and last year’s winner Clan Des Obeaux.
The supporting card includes two more Grade 1’s in the shape of the Christmas Hurdle and the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase.
Leopardstown Races (Boxing Day)
Boxing Day is also day one of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival, a four-day extravaganza that includes seven Grade 1 races, entertainment, music, and some serious Guinness drinking. The highlight of the first day is the Racing Post Novice Chase, a race that Douvan, Min, and Footpad have all won on-route to the Cheltenham Festival. Mullins looks sure to be represented this year, with the likes of Melon and Laurina amongst his possible challengers.
Leicester vs Liverpool (Boxing Day, 8.00pm)
It could be a tough Christmas period for Leicester, as they follow their away match against Manchester City by hosting Liverpool. But it could equally be the best Christmas present of all if they can take three points off each of the Premier League’s two big guns. The two teams have already fought out a thrilling 2-1 finish at Anfield this season, when only a last gasp penalty gave Liverpool a 2-1 win. The Boxing Day films will be being swerved for the return match.
Kempton Races (27 December)
Day two of the Ladbrokes Christmas Festival at Kempton is called Desert Orchid Chase Day, with the highlight being named after the charismatic grey horse that lit up the King George VI Chase on four occasions. Plenty of stars have won this race including Champion Chasers Sprinter Sacre, Sire Du Grugy, and Altior. But with Altior set to step up in trip, it could be time for Politologue or Sceau Royal to use this race as a stepping-stone to the Cheltenham Festival.
Chepstow Races (27 December)
Chepstow at Christmas may normally be wet and muddy but that only adds to the appeal of the Welsh National, which is often a war of attrition over 3 miles and 5 furlongs. Last year’s one-two Elegant Escape and Ramses De Teillee are already favourites to fight out the finish once again, but don’t be surprised if there’s a dark horse or two lurking near the foot of the weights.
Leopardstown Races (27 December)
Day two of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival features two Grade 1s, starting with the Paddy’s Rewards Club Sugar Paddy Steeplechase. Willie Mullins may well aim exciting two-mile chaser Chacun Pour Soi at this race, but a hat-trick for the 12-year-old Simply Ned would probably bring the biggest cheer.
Whatever the result there, watch out for whichever of the Willie Mullins-trained horses runs in The Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle, as Ireland’s Champion Trainer has won the last four editions of this Grade 1 race.
Leopardstown Races (28 December)
The third day of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival features two Grade 1 Races, with the first of those being the Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle. Apple’s Jade looks sure to make a bold bid to complete a hat-trick of victories in the race, but 2018 Stayers’ Hurdle winner Penhill could prove a formidable rival if Willie Mullins can get him fit for a race that should suit him ideally.
The second Grade 1 is The Savills Steeplechase (formerly the Lexus Chase) and this is a chance to see many of the top 3-mile chasers in Ireland. The last two winners Kemboy and Road To Respect may be back for more, and they could be taken on by last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo and the promising Delta Work in what could be a stellar renewal.
Wolves vs Manchester City (28 November, 7.45pm)
Wolves have started the season as the draw-masters of the Premier League but have already dealt Manchester City’s title aspirations a huge blow by winning 2-0 at the Etihad earlier in the season. Wolves also held City to a draw in the corresponding fixture last season and City are going to have to be at their brilliant best if they’re to escape the festive period unscathed.
Leopardstown Races (29 December)
The fourth and final day of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival features The Neville Hotels Novice Steeplechase, and this novice chase over 3-miles has been won by Gigginstown Stud-owned horses in four of the last five years. They have some interesting contenders this year in the shape of Battleoverdoyen and potential superstar Samcro heading the list.
Arsenal vs Chelsea (29 December, 2.00pm)
Many pundits thought Arsenal had a great chance of finishing above Chelsea this season (including me) but, whilst Unai Emery continues to struggle to form his expensive summer signings into the right combination, Frank Lampard had quickly molded some inexperienced youngsters into an entertaining and efficient team. Arsenal won last year’s fixture 2-0 but, whatever the result, hopefully these two attack-minded teams will serve up a festive feast of goals fit for any Betting God.
Cheltenham Races (New Year’s Day)
There’s nothing like shaking off your New Year’s Eve hangover with a trip to Cheltenham’s New Year’s Day Fixture, especially if you need a hair of the dog remedy to fully recover. But it’s the horses that take precedent with two exciting grade 2 races to look forward to in the shape of the Dipper Novices’ Chase and the Relkeel Hurdle.
This meeting normally throws up plenty of Cheltenham Festival clues, with Lostintranslation, Whisper, and Yanworth being the last three winners of the Dipper Chase.
Arsenal vs Manchester United (1 January, 8.00pm)
Matches between these two old title challengers are always entertaining and results have been varied over the last couple of seasons. It’s anyone’s guess who’ll win this one, but the victor will probably be playing for a Europa League spot for next season, at best.
Liverpool vs Sheffield United (Wed Jan 2, 8.00pm)
Sheffield United have been serving it up to teams all season and they’ve already gone close to taking a point off Liverpool at Bramhall Lane when only a goal by Wijnaldum separated the two sides. The bad news for Liverpool is Sheffield United have been even more dangerous on the road this season and aren’t a team you want to play when you’re trying to stay top of the Premier League. Not a bad match to end the festivities.