The King George VI Chase is the highlight showpiece of the Boxing Day horse racing festivities. This is just part of the great Winter Festival at Kempton, featuring a host of Grade I races. This is about now half way through the season for the jumps, and the prestige surrounding this classic chase, can only really be surpassed by the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The King George VI Chase sees the runners go over a right handed 3m course and some famous names have landed the title more than once of the years, with Kicking King, See More Business and Desert Orchid some of the most famous names on the list. Current champion Kauto Star goes for his fifth King George, after Ruby Walsh rode him home first last year. That was the fourth consecutive victory for Kauto Star, in a race which has always been epitomised by the sight of the famous grey, Desert Orchid romping home. 2010 sees the 60th running of the Chase, with the William Hill Winter Festival being one of the most attended meetings of the year.
The Kempton track, in particular the King George VI Chase plays up to speed. There really is no biding your time in the King George VI Chase, there is the necessity to cruise round at high speed as well as having immaculate timing over the jumps. Trainer Paul Nicholls has the chance to record an unique five in a row with Kauto Star, surpassing all of the greats which have gone before. Kauto Star, a two times winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup will naturally start as favourite, and with Imperial Commander out of the picture for the feature race, gelding Kauto Star will naturally take heavy backing in the run up to the start. You should be able to still pick up a decent shout of Evens on him at the moment, with some Antepost betting at your online bookmaker. Looking over the card (which will be no more than 14 runners), he is the outright class act in the field, and will be hard to touch due to his rankings. Are there any worthwhile prices to consider betting against the great champion? Of course there is. In horse racing betting, just as with any other sport, you just never know. Falls happen, form dips when unexpected and strange things happen.
Here is a guide to your King George VI Chase Antepost Betting
Simply outstanding, there is no other word for him. Just a quick glance over his form will tell you where to put your money. Five wins out of his last six runs, two of them at Kempton, two of them at Cheltenham, and we know what races those were in. The horse can make himself a bit of history, as Kauto Star would surpass Desert Orchid’s four wins in the race. Always looks superlative and he will be the one to beat in the race. Had a good warm up at the beginning of December, finishing four lengths clear of Sizing Europe, one of the rivals for the King George VI Chase. Kauto Star simply has the jumping power, the stamina and most of all the speed, and is so well built for this race it will be hard to take him down. This is something of a unique style of race and you need the entire package to pull it off. Time and time again the partnership of Ruby Walsh and Kauto Star have proven to be just far too good, but there is a twist in the tale for this year. Walsh will not be in the saddle, as he is still nursing a broken leg. Instead the deputising jockey of Noel Fehily will be there. Still, you have to think that it will take some kind of luck for one of the other to prevent him from winning the King George VI Chase for the fifth time.
Is being touted as the one who can finally end Kauto Stair’s run, however this is youngster compared to the experience of Kauto Star, and that could be the one thing which pushes him back. If you are talking about raw talent, then Long Run has it, and has been showing remarkably well during only his second season of steeplechase. Long Run showed well at Kempton last year in the Grade 1 Feltham Chase (which is the undercard for the King George VI Chase), finishing a massive thirteen lengths clear of his nearest rival. The only question remains is whether the time is right for the pretender to surpass the king. He may just be a year or two away from being able to take Kauto Star on toe-to-toe, but while the followers of Kauto Star see still that old magic in the ten year old, the five year old Long Run is breathing down his neck. Ran in third in a Grade 3 at Cheltenham in mid November, four lengths back of the winner. If Kauto Star slips, then Long Run could be in the spotlight. In a field without Kauto Star in it, you would be leaning towards Long Run. This will be a serious test of how far he has come along though, because his finishing time over the track last year, was well back of that posted by Kauto Star in the King George VI Chase. Can he push on for that extra stride of pace and not disrupt his jumping rhythm? Incidentally, no five year old has ever won the race either.
He comes the Irish challenger for the race, who has to break the ignominy of finishing second, which he has done in his last six outings. The eight year old has been the bridesmaid over the past couple of years, but hasn’t quite come through with the big proposal to take the tape. Another thing which could just push him back in the final outcome, will be an issue of stamina, having never gone over this length of course before. Having to do that for the first time and keep up with the speed of Kauto Star, is a big ask. Eight of the last ten King George VI Chase winners had all won over the distance before. A quick sizing up of the odds really sums up the chances of the rest of the runners in this field. No, there is no Imperial Commander, but the early indications is that this is still going to be a two horse race, with Kauto Star ultimately shining through. Forpadydeplasterer, there is potential, but potential alone isn’t enough to win the King George VI Chase.
Trainer Nicky Henderson looks the best bet to usurp Kauto Star in this race. Henderson has three runners in the race, with Riverside Theatre, Long Run and Burton Port. Long Run looks to have the best chance of them all though. Henderson has 53 winners from 182 runners at Kempton, and when you weigh up that strike rate really, it isn’t bad at all. But Riverside Theatre, who did win at Kempton on November 1st with Barry Geraghty in the saddle, is a good talent, and looks as if Kempton suits him. That’s four wins from four runs at Kempton now. All of Henderson’s entrants here are in the second season of Chase, and with none of them really having shone in the race before, it is tough to see them closing the gap. A steady performer, but you have to look at Henderson’s Long Run as being the one with the most potential to push Kauto Star.
The other Irish entrant, who has been beaten in the races he has gone in when stepping out of novice company. However, looks as if he is well suited to the race, but need to break out of the tough second year Chaser company to win his first race. Again, should be one of the chasing pack, but ultimately and also-ran. Well beaten by Kauto Star already this season.
History is working against the odds of Nacarat running home first. Each of the last ten winners of the King George VI Chase have all had a Grade 1 victory under their belt, something which Nacart does not have. Finished a couple of lengths behind Planet of Sound at Haydock in December, and is just one of the chasing pack which really is not expected to show that well near the front.
Out there in the odds, but may just be worth looking at for reaching each way. His one big moment came in beating War of Attrition at Punchestown in April at the Punchestown Gold Cup, and came in almost ten lengths back of Imperial Commander at Haydock at the end of November. That is something to judge him by, because if Imperial Commander was in this race and challenging Kauto Star, instead of being held back for the defence of his Cheltenham Gold Cup, Planet of Sound wouldn’t get near the front two. Has experience, but not of the real quality to take this race by the scruff of the neck. Could get in the mix with a good run, and may just be worth a second look on the day.
A great outsider tip. Well worth a little each way flutter. Has had a pretty good year, and the nine year old has good experience in the race. Albertas Run finished second to Kauto Star in the King George VI Chase two years ago, but really showed his worth at the beginning of the year, winning Grade I races at Cheltenham and Aintree. The victory at Aintree saw him finish around three lengths clear of Forpadydeplasterer. Ridden by Sports Personality of the Year A. P. McCoy, you know he will be ridden well, and the only thing which is perhaps keeping him out in the odds, is his fall last time out on November 20th. If he gets up from that and runs to his full potential, he could be in the mix for a top three finish. At this price, not one to really refuse looking at.