One of the biggest festivals of the year, the King George takes place at Kempton Parl on Sunday 26th December 2021.
Here we feature a roundup of who we think will make a big splash on the day across all the races.
12:45 Kempton – Play Ladbrokes 5-A-Side On Football Novices’ Hurdle
Broomfield Burg is the highest rated here and really ought to extend the excellent record that Nicky Henderson has in this particular race.
The Seven Barrows trainer has landed this opener five times since 2011 with the likes of Fred, Mister Fisher, Altior, River Maigue and Tetlami.
He has yet to record a win so far this season, but he has narrowed the margin of defeat on each of his last two starts.
A return to a flatter track should suit this five-year-old and he can get punters off to a good start.
1. BROOMFIELD BURG
13:20 Kempton – Get Your Ladbrokes 1 Free Bet Today Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase
Nicky Henderson looks to have a strong hand here with Bothwell Bridge and Mister Coffey entered. The former ran out an impressive winner on his seasonal debut at Sandown three weeks ago.
That win came on similar ground and over the same trip. Unsurprisingly, Nico De Boinville retains the ride.
Sean Bowen replaces his brother on Mister Coffey in what is a first time combination between horse and jockey. With Nico having the choice and knowing both horses well you would be foolish not to take the hint.
Unfortunately for them Danny Kirwan also runs here. He was a fine second on his chasing debut at Cheltenham back in October. The form of that race has been franked on numerous occasions by the likes of Annual Invictus (again), Faivoir and Back On The Lash.
The eight-year-old looks sure to improve from that run and he may prove the one they all have to beat.
1. DANNY KIRWAN 2. BOTHWELL BRIDGE 3. MISTER COFFEY
13:55 Kempton – Kauto Star Novices’ Chase
This looks to be a two-horse race between the talented pair of Bravemansgame and Ahoy Senor. The Paul Nicholls trained Bravemansgame is vastly more experienced than the Lucinda Russell horse.
He looks to be a chaser in the making in every way and has proven himself on flat tracks such as Newbury and Exeter. Ahoy Senor has only had a handful of starts and asides from one blip, he looks an incredibly exciting prospect for the yard.
Up until Shan Blue won this last season, favourites had a fairly abysmal record in recent years here. With the better value lying with Ahoy Senor and with him being less exposed, his potential remains untapped.
He is therefore taken to narrowly deny the Paul Nicholls runner a hat-trick of recent wins.
1. AHOY SENOR 2. BRAVEMANSGAME
14:30 Kempton – Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle
Nicky Henderson is somewhat of an expert in finding the winner of the Christmas Hurdle and this time around he relies on Epatante.
She was forward enough on her seasonal debut to dead heat with another of today’s rivals in Not So Sleepy in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle last month.
The ground here this afternoon suits her well and she has an impressive 64% strike rate at this trip. She had valid excuses for being beaten that day as she hit the first hurdle rather hard and it took its toll on her usually sharp turn of foot.
She is very likely to have needed that outing last time in order to clear away any cobwebs and can improve for that effort.
There is no Honeysuckle to worry about this afternoon and if she is still to be considered a valid Champion Hurdle contender at Cheltenham, she needs to deliver a scintillating performance here. Tritonic won well the other day and may well follow her home.
1. EPATANTE 2. TRITONIC
15:05 KEMPTON – KING GEORGE PREVIEW
Talented on his day, but this grey gelding does have serious jumping issues.
He unseated his rider last time at Punchestown and has been beaten out of sight in three out of five of his last five starts.
He gives the impression that lots of rain is needed for him to be seen at his best and those conditions just don’t look likely.
You can never underestimate a Willie Mullins trained runner but with stamina concerns too, he has to be one you have reservations about backing.
A highly progressive seven-year-old who won the Marsh Novices at Cheltenham before also scoring in the Mildmay Novices at Aintree.
He barely turned a hair on his chase debut and seasonal reappearance at Sandown in November and he looks sure to play a massive part in this race. Flat tracks appear to suit him and his form keeps getting boosted time after time.
Nicky Henderson has plenty of experience in winning this race and Nico De Boinville knows this lad inside out. An exciting prospect who still has big days ahead of him.
There are no stamina doubts about him and still thoroughly unexposed.
Clan Des Obeaux
A dual winner of this race who just took a little while to come to hand last season before running away with the Betway Bowl at Aintree and then the Punchestown Gold Cup.
He clearly knows every blade of grass on this track and is still rated as the second highest-rated runner in this field. If ready to roll at the first time of asking he may well land a third success in this race.
He is still a lightly raced nine-year-old and looks destined to play a part in the finish. He was outdone by the braver Frodon in this last year and with his stablemate already having won this season, he may struggle to get past him again purely on fitness.
An absolute warrior who really wears his heart on his sleeve. He was sent off an unconsidered 20/1 shot in this race last year and he and Bryony Frost led them all a merry dance.
He turned away rivals one by one and ground out one of the bravest victories ever. He comes into this race fresh as a daisy as he had a prep run when winning the Champion Chase at Down Royal at the beginning of November.
Minella Indo was almost five lengths behind him and no surprise if this Paul Nicholls runner makes a bold bid to repeat his win here last season.
A pleasing comeback in a lower grade will have brought back some confidence to Colin Tizard’s nine-year-old.
He beat Master Tommytucker by four lengths in the Chanelle Pharma Chase on his seasonal reappearance. This will take another step forward and the two previous times he has been tested at this level and in this very race, he has been pulled up.
If he is right back to his very best, he has each way shout but nothing more. There are younger potential improvers here and he may well struggle again.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup hero was all at sea on his seasonal debut when firmly put in his place at Down Royal by Frodon.
There is of course every chance that he will improve for that run but he will need to. The trip and the ground may not be an issue; it may just be the type of track that proves his undoing.
The track is flat here and the fences come fast. It usually takes a while for him to get into a rhythm and a more undulating track may suit him better.
Rachael Blackmore will be keen to atone for his Down Royal disappointment and if the pair take to Kempton, they will prove massive threats to all.
Has run some very competitive races in his time including when winning a Grade 2 Peterborough Chase at Cheltenham in 2020. This though, looks a race beyond him on what is effectively his seasonal reappearance.
It would take a performance of epic proportions to sweep aside some truly race-fit Grade 1 horses here. He did win his bumper here in 2018 but that was a long time ago now and he looks to be an outsider for a reason here.
It would be some training performance if Paul Nicholls could get Saint Calvados back into the winners’ enclosure after two years.
The ground seems to have gone against him as he loves to have plenty of give underfoot. He has also never won over this sort of trip so it looks to be a mission of discovery by the Champion trainer to see what kind of horse he has inherited from Harry Whittington.
He has had far easier opportunities than this to win a first Grade 1 and he looks genuinely up against it this afternoon.
Comes here as the perceived stable second string but he ran well enough for a long way against Allaho at Punchestown last time out.
He has been placed at this level in the past including when third to that same rival in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham back in March. He is likely to improve on his seasonal reappearance and he was doing all of his best work in the closing stages at Punchestown in the John Durkan last time.
This step up in trip is likely to suit him well based on that effort and he may well surprise a few of the more fancied types by nicking a place.
Paul Nicholls has a wonderful record in this race and tends to have his runners finely tuned on the big occasions so both Clan Des Obeaux and Frodon are respected, especially the latter who is trying to defend his crown.
The up and coming star here though is Chantry House and Nicky Henderson too has an exemplary record in this race. He loves a flat track and the ground and trip will not be an issue for this JP McManus owned gelding.
The majority of the others are professional veterans, but they could well have their legs taken off them by this younger rival. A multiple winning Grade 1 winner over hurdles, he has serious ability given the way he won at Sandown.
Minella Indo just looks too short given his negative run at Down Royal but Tornado Flyer could run on into a place at a decent price.
1. CHANTRY HOUSE 2. FRODON 3. TORNADO FLYER
Previous Winners of the King George VI Chase
15:40 Kempton – Ladbrokes We Play Together Handicap Hurdle
An Taillur could well prove the key to this tricky puzzle of a finale. The five-year-old has done nothing but improve as the season has progressed.
When he started his winning run he was a lowly rated 94 in the ratings but that mark has now been revised to 135 following a string of successes.
Jonjo O’Neill Junior has built up a formidable partnership with the grey son on Authorized. He will make the most of the weight he receives from Earlofthecotswolds and with him being proven over the trip, he certainly ticks a lot of the right boxes.
Heross Du Seuil won on debut for Nicky Henderson last season but was beaten relatively easily in his next two races. Perhaps first time out is the time to catch him but at the prices he offers very little in the way of value.
Earlofthecotswolds form has been subsequently franked by Annsam and he looks the biggest danger to the selection.
1. AN TAILLUR 2. EARLOFTHECOTSWOLDS 3. COMMANCHE RED
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