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King George IV Chase

One of the biggest Grade 1 races in the National Hunt season is the King Goerge VI Chase. As with most of the big races from British Racing, the fixture is absolutely steeped in wonderful history

The prestige of the King George IV Chase is massive. It’s run annually at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.

King George VI Chase History

The first edition of the King George VI Chase was run in 1937 and that was in the month of February. The race was named to celebrate King George VI’s ascension to the throne.

Along with the 1937 edition which was won by Southern Hero and the following year’s edition won by Airgead Sios were the only two editions of the King George VI Chase that were run before the Second World War.

When it came back in 1947 it was launched on its new day of the calendar year, Boxing Day. This is one of the highlights of the British National Hunt season and the race is only second in prestige in chasing to the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

About the race

When the race was relaunched in 1947 it returned as a handicap fixture. The Kempton race is a 3-mile contest which is open to horses aged four years and up.

Fillies and Mares are eligible to take part and they get a 7lb allowance for entering.

The King Goerge VI chase has eighteen fences for the competitors to get over and the race is part of the Kempton Christmas Festival. The race hasn’t always been run at Kempton, the exceptions being a couple of occasions where it was moved to Sandown because of water and redevelopment of the Kempton racecourse.

There have been abandonments of the race before as well as postponements, the bulk of which, outside of war years, has been down to the weather when snow and frost have hit the track.

Desert Orchid

The first big legendary star of the race was Desert Orchid. He scored his first success in the Chase in 1986 as a seven-year-old. He would go into astonishing greatness in the fixture.

After Nupsala won in 1987 Desert Orchid struck for the second time in the following year. That score in 1988 was the start of wins in three constructive years that he managed for trainer David Elsworth.

So with four King George titles under his belt, the famous front-running popular grey cemented his place in the history books. He also won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1989 before following up with King George VI.

Kauto Star

While others liked One Man, The Fellow and Kicking King looked to try and emulate Desert Orchid, each of those winning the King George VI in consecutive years, the next superstar was Kauto Star.

He didn’t just match the achievements of Desert Orchid in the race, he surpassed them.

Kauto Star won the King George VI Chase for four straight years between 2006 and 2009 inclusive. His streak was broken by Long Run in 2010 but then he returned the following year to strike up another win at Kempton in the fixture.

It was the same jockey/trainer partnership all the way for Kauto Star with Ruby Walsh in the saddle for the Paul Nicholls’ trained gelding.

He also beat Desert Orchid by winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice and was one of the most successful steeplechasers in the modern history of the sport.

Kauto Star passed away in 2015 at the age of 15.

Read more racing news and betting tips in our Horse Racing section

2019 King George VI Review

2019 saw the potential making of another King George VI Chase great as Clan des Obeaux successfully defended his title from the previous year. The Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year old cruised to victory in the previous year.

Once against Clan Des Obeaux, a brilliant chaser in his own right stormed to success at Kempton in 2019 as well.

He held off strong challengers in Cyrname and Footpad in the race. Cyrname had been the one that had ended the unbeaten career of Altior at Ascot the previous month. But the jumping form of Clan Des Obeaux, along with far superior finishing power on the day up against Cyrname, won the day.

Cyrname looked to have the race in his hands after Clan Des Obeaux jumped a little wildly five from home. But Clan Des Obeaux landed clear two from home as Cyrname was empty after having done so much of the running.

Clan Des Obeaux cruise home by a huge distance. Cyrname did enough to hold on to second with Footpad in third place.

2020 King George VI Chase Preview

Clan Des Obeaux is expected to be back at the King George VI Chase in 2020 as he tries to secure a hat trick of wins. The race is, once again, scheduled for its usual Boxing Day run.

Other runners projected to enter the race are Lostintranslaton who pulled up in the 2019 edition, Santini and Champ. Making an appearance also in what would be a similar line up to the 2019 edition, could be Cyrname.