King George VI Chase Preview

9AF71E08-2246-4BBA-8D00-2310791D1281.jpegBy Samantha

Christmas is a time to celebrate what we love and, for national hunt racing fans, over the next week- in Britain and Ireland- there are some top class races to cherish.

The Christmas Hurdle, in which Buveur D’Air is an odds-on short, acts as a tasty starter for the main course for the day- the 32Red King George VI Chase.

This race is ran over three miles and is a Grade One contest. In recent years, top horses like Cue Card, Silviniaco Conti, Long Run, Kauto Star, Kicking King and Best Mate have won this race and the ten runners set to go to post look to follow in this illustrious list of horses’ hoof prints.

We have two previous winners in the line up this year looking to win it again. Thistlecrack won this race in 2016 with Tea For Two in fourth and Cue Card and Silviniaco Conti filling the two places in between. Last time out, he was behind Bristol De Mai and Native River and a long way ahead of Clan Des Obeaux and Might Bite in the Betfair Chase. His jumping fully let him down on that day and he lost a lot of ground from the others in the air and after the fence. He was absolutely cruising when others were coming off the bridle but found nothing jumping down the straight. If he sorts his jumping out, he will be extremely hard to beat.

His stablemate Native River won the Gold Cup this year in an epic duel between himself and Might Bite. The former prevailed by four and a half lengths and he finished ahead of him again on seasonal debut behind Bristol De Mai. He was third behind Tea For Two over course and distance in the Kauto Star Novices Chase in 2015 on his only try at this course. He is probably the best horse in the race but his run last time out was a bit disappointing. He has an obvious chance and looks good value at 6/1 considering Might Bite is about a 10/3 shot, drifting from 5/2.

Politologue is quite an interesting runner and he carries the colours of John Hales who’s horses Al Ferof and Azeryyiop have placed and One Man won this twice in the 90s. He put in a great performance last time out to win over two miles five at Ascot in a grade two beating Charbel who won next time out. He is yet to race further than this trip so that is a bit of an unknown but apparently connections thought he would be suitable for this race. He is probably Paul Nicholls’ best chance of a winner but he does also have Clan Des Obeaux. The six year old was beaten about nine lengths in the Betfair Chase, ahead of Might Bite, last time out and he was third behind that horse at the back end of last year in the Betway Bowl. I’d be very surprised if he wins.

Bristol De Mai put in a tantalizing display in the Betfair Chase from the front at his beloved Haydock, making his classy rivals- Native River, Thistlecrack, Clan Des Obeaux and Might Bite– look ordinary. This race is pretty much a rematch of that and if Bristol De Mai can win this and then the Gold Cup in March, connections will win the £1million bonus. I really fancy his chances to win this race. There has been a lot of talk in the media about how he won’t handle the track but he has won right handed before at Leicester and Sandown. Admittedly, he would probably prefer it if the track was undulating it he also has a good record for the second run of his campaigns.

A female trainer hadn’t won this since Henrietta Knight trained Edredon Bleu to win the 2003 renewal of this race. Two female trainers have representatives in this year’s race. Jane Williams has recently took over the training of Tea For Two. He won the Kauto Star Novices Chase over course and distance in 2015 and has won twice since, including the Betway Bowl. He was third in this last year and and loves this course but has been struggling at the top level recently.

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Ruth Jefferson also took over a training license after her father Malcolm sadly passed away. She trains Waiting Patiently in this race, who is unbeaten over chase fences. He beat Politologue one and a quarter lengths in a grade two at Haydock in 2017 and he won three times, once at this course, last season. He was last seen winning the Ascot Chase so hasn’t had the benefit of a recent run but usually goes well fresh. He is tackling three miles for the first time so that’s a worry but I know lots of people who really fancy him.

Coneygree won the 2015 Gold Cup under Nico De Boinville, who will ride Might Bite in this. It is well known that he is a very delicate horse and it looked as though connections should call it quits after he was pulled up on both starts last season. Connections persisted and he ran a blinder to be third on his reappearance over three furlongs more and he was showing a little bit of his old spark. It would be amazing if he could win this but that looks unlikely.

Double Shuffle was second in this race last year and was behind Might Bite, Bristol De Mai, Clan Des Obeaux and Tea For Two in the Betway Bowl. He fell at the first after making no attempt to jump in the Charlie Hall and was then second in the Many Clouds Chase. Has a bit to find with the others.

Selections

Bristol De Mai & Thistlecrack

Rest Of The Card

1st Race- Didtheyleaveuoutto
2nd Race- Vivas (EW)
3rd Race- Santini
4th Race- Buveur D’Air
5th Race- Bristol De Mai/ Thistlecrack
6th Race- Erick Le Rouge

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