King George Preview 2022

Horse Leaps In Action

The King George VI Chase is the main event to be run on Boxing Day. It is often viewed as the premier trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup around ten weeks later.

Run over three miles, there are usually around eighteen fences to be jumped on Kempton’s right-handed track.

First run in 1937, there have been at least fifteen horses to have won the race more that once including legends such as Kauto Star who won the race five times and the mighty Desert Orchid who won the prize on four separate occasions.

Previous Winners of the King George VI Chase

My main aim here is to go through individual runners ahead of the 2022 King George VI Chase to try and point you in the right direction in identifying the winner.

2022 King George Contenders:

Ahoy Senor – Lucinda Russell

Ahoy Senor was a prolific winner last year and three wins in chases between November and April at tracks including Aintree, Wetherby and Newbury. He has amassed over £150k in win and place prize money in such a short space of time and he clearly goes well at relatively flat tracks such as this one.

He ran well at this meeting last year when only beaten half-a-length by Bravemansgame in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase. His runs back this year have lacked any real fluency as he has been beaten on both previous starts. He has also never won going right-handed so this track may not lend itself well to him. He has a place claim at best.

Bravemansgame – Paul Nicholls

Bravemansgame has silenced his critics since putting up two fairly ordinary performances on the track in the first half 2021. He has subsequently won four races including the Charlie Hall Chase and the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase.

Paul Nicholls obviously feels that he is better suited by sticking to flatter tracks hence why his career wins have come at the likes of Aintree, Newbury, Exeter and Haydock.

He has won over this course and distance and Paul Nicholls has absolutely farmed this race in recent years with the likes of Clan Des Obeaux, Silviniaco Conti and Kauto Star and his jockey Harry Cobden has won this race before too.

He has a lot of ticks in a lot of the right boxes but he just looks a little short in the betting for me.

Eldorado Allen – Joe Tizzard

Eldorado Allen is a wonderfully consistent type that always gives his best. He has finished runner-up on both of his starts so far this year including when last seen out at the Betfair Chase at Haydock in the middle of last month.

Whilst he has won multiple Grade 2 races, he has yet to conclusively prove himself at the very highest of levels and that has to be a concern coming into this race. Given that he was runner-up to Mister Fisher here last year in the Silviniaco Conti Chase, there are horses here with much better form.

He could well pick up the pieces if a few underperform here, but they would need to. Others have far stronger claims.

Envoi Allen – Henry De Bromhead

Envoi Allen enjoyed the perfect warm up for this race with a scintillating win at Down Royal back in November where he won the Grade One Champion Chase. That was his first ever attempt at three-miles and he passed the test with flying colours.

The further they went, the better he looked that day and this Cheveley Park owned and bred gelding looks to be the biggest threat to Bravemansgame here. Five of his eight chase successes have come going right-handed and although yet to win outside of Ireland for this trainer, he is still open to any amount of improvement over this trip.

He will likely have the assistance of Rachael Blackmore in the saddle and having own three times previously on him, they have to command utmost respect. He is still only an eight-year-old and following a first Irish success in this race last year since 2005, perhaps the prize can once again go across the Irish Sea.

Frodon – Paul Nicholls

Frodon is one of the most genuine horses in training and his relationship with Bryony Frost is remarkable. The pair have won eleven races together including when rewriting the script as they won this race back in 2020.

He showed he was no back number this year when winning on his seasonal reappearance by taking the Badger Beer Handicap Chase at Wetherby last month. Older horses than him have recaptured their crowns here but in nine out of the last ten years, no horse older than nine has won this race.

Frodon and Bryony will never give up and will stay on when others have long since cried enough. Tough as teak and surpassing all superlatives they are entitled to their place in this line-up even if it is to pay a minor supporting role.

Hitman – Paul Nicholls

Hitman has always promised to deliver more than he ultimately has. He has been found out in this grade on numerous occasions and because of his connections (Sir Alex Ferguson et al) he always seems to go off a shorter price that he really should.

He has never been tested over this three-mile trip and there would have to be questions asked in relation as to whether he actually has the stamina for it. He is without regular rider Harry Cobden today as he prefers Bravemansgame and that will be a big loss for him.

He has never won in four attempts going this way around and there has to be question marks as to why he is even being considered for this race.

L’Homme Presse – Venetia Williams

L’Homme Presse is a horse on a serious upward curve. The seven-year-old son of Diamond Boy proved to be quite a revelation for Venetia Williams last season accumulating with a facile success in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham.

There he saw off Ahoy Senor by over three lengths in what was a bloodless win on bottomless ground. Since then he has made a winning reappearance at Newcastle and saw off the attentions of Into Overdrive in the Rehearsal Chase.

He is undefeated in chases when going right-handed so Kempton should be right up his street. He is expected to improve for that recent run and like all of his yards’ runners would appreciate a little more rain. The bookies think is the one they all have to beat and they could be right.

Millers Bank – Alex Hales

Millers Bank looks to be completely out of his depth here against some up and coming and also some proven sorts. The Alex Hales trained eight-year-old was good enough to win a weak Grade One chase at Aintree during the Grand National meeting.

The last time he tried three-miles, he was beaten well over thirty-five lengths. His trainer looks to be tilting at windmills here and it would be a massive surprise if he were to even make the frame.

Royal Pagaille – Venetia Williams

Royal Pagaille has a history of running well on his seasonal return having won the Peter Marsh at Haydock earlier this year when beating the likes of Sam Brown and Fortescue.

He ran a fair fifth in last seasons’ Gold Cup at Cheltenham but it was just a fair effort. He just seems to lack the gears to be a true Grade One horse, so taking this would be something of a shock despite being a previous course and distance winner.

He may well be the pace angle for L’Homme Presse to aim at and could well be set up as a pace maker.


ENVOI ALLEN could well prove to be the value pick here as he has beaten some of the best horses around in Ireland.

Whilst Bravemansgame and L’Homme Presse have been more than impressive with their individual wins, they have never really faced such a talented rival.

He is versatile in relation to trip and acts on any ground. He saw off some proper chasers last time out including Kemboy and Galvin.

There should be more to come from him over this three-mile trip and this should be a fascinating contest from the outset.

Karl Hedley






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