Kempton Park’s King George VI Chase, run every year on Boxing Day as part of their Christmas Festival, is a three-mile chase featuring 18 fences. Run at Grade 1 level, the King George Chase is considered to be second only to the Cheltenham Gold Cup in importance as far as staying chases go within the British National Hunt season.
The Christmastime highlight of National Hunt horse racing, the King George VI Chase was first run in 1937 to celebrate the crowning of the UK’s last male monarch, King George VI. As the highlight of the Christmas Festival at Kempton Park run annually on Boxing Day (the opening day of a two-day meeting), this race marks the midway point of the jumps season. With an illustrious roll of honour containing a number of legendary multiple winners that gives the Cheltenham Gold Cup a run for its money, the King George is one of the most prestigious staying steeplechases in Britain.
Great jumpers including Arkle, Captain Christy, Pendil, Wayward Lad, Desert Orchid, See More Business, Kicking King and Kauto Star have all won the race more than once. Racehorses need speed as well as stamina to win with Kempton offering a very different test on its tight, right-handed track to the undulations of Cheltenham and the famous spruce covered fences of the Grand National course at Aintree. The King George VI Chase is the second leg of the Stayers’ Chase Triple Crown following the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park in November and the Gold Cup itself in March.
Since 2000, five King George Chase winners have gone on to land the Gold Cup at Cheltenham proving that it takes a top-class chaser to win this, the average SP of the last 19 winners being 4/1 despite a couple of 12/1 and 25/1 winners. Taking out those longshots in fact leaves the average SP at less than 5/2, so don’t look too far down the list.
While looking at trends and statistics doesn’t guarantee you will find the King George VI Chase winner, you can make better informed betting decisions by knowing what they are. A total of 14 different horses have won the race more than once. The same trainers target the King George year after year, so it is worth bearing the following in mind:
With a race as big as the King George VI Chase, you can be sure there will be bonuses and promotions relating to it. As this event takes place over Christmas, check back during the festive period to find more details of all the 2021 available King George offers.
For all horse racing punters out there, we’ve reviewed and rated horse racing betting sites and their new customer offers available all year around. Make sure to take advantage of some of the most generous bonuses.
Despite a poor reappearance run at Haydock, much was expected of RSA Chase winner and Gold Cup runner-up Might Bite who went off 3/1 favourite for the 2018 King George at Kempton, with Native River and Politologue not far behind at 9/2 and 5/1.
Despite being an outsider at 12/1, Paul Nicholls had said in interviews that there was likely more to come from his Clan Des Obeaux and the six-year-old duly obliged with a taking performance to land the spoils by 1½ lengths from previous winner Thistlecrack. Here are all the King George VI Chase past winners from 2010 onwards with how they fared at the following Cheltenham Festival:
Clan Des Obeaux retained his King George crown with an emphatic victory over stable companion Cyrname. Returned at 11/2, he raced in touch and chased the leader from the twelfth fence before coming upsides travelling strongly at the third last. Clan Des Obeaux jumped to the front two out and he was soon clear.
Sam Twiston-Davies took over the ride from Harry Cobden, who opted for 5/4 favourite Cyrname, and could afford to ease him down close home. The King George field was well strung out with 21 lengths between the winner and runner-up. Irish raider Footpad was a further five lengths behind in third with Aso last to finish and 15/8 chance Lostintranslation pulled up.
Clan Des Obeaux pulled off a 12/1 shock in the King George after taking a major step forward from his run in the Betfair Chase. He raced well in touch, but wasn’t fluent at the fourth fence. That mistake didn’t prove too costly, but the same could not be said of 8/1 shot Bristol De Mai, however, who came to grief at the ninth. That in turn forced the 4/1 northern raider Waiting Patiently to unseat his rider with jockey Brian Hughes beating the ground in frustration.
Previous King George winner Might Bite was sent off the 3/1 favourite but failed to defend his crown and was last of seven finishers from a field of ten when found to have bled after the race. Former Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Coneygree also unseated Sean Bowen two out. That didn’t affect Clan Des Obeaux, though, who tracked the leading trio from the fourteenth fence and moved into second approaching three from home.
He was in front by the last and still going well, finding enough on the run-in to hold 15/2 chance and 2016 King George victor Thistlecrack by 1½ lengths. The front two pulled a further twelve lengths clear of the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Native River at 9/2 in third. Nicholls also had 5/1 hope Politologue running but he didn’t get the trip and came fourth, still well ahead of outsider pair Double Shuffle and Tea For Two.
Might Bite won a third Grade 1 of the calendar year and justified favouritism at 6/4 with victory in the King George. After pressing the leader, Henderson’s Scorpion gelding kept putting his head in front before jockey Nico de Boinville took him back. He let Might Bite go on approaching three out, but he started idling from the second last, so his jockey had to drive him out for a length win over 50/1 outsider Double Shuffle.
Tea For Two, a winner over course and distance, was a further couple of lengths back in third at 20/1 with the previous year’s King George VI Chase scorer Thistlecrack further behind at 5/1 in fourth. That quartet were well clear of Ladbrokes Trophy runner-up Whisper, a stable companion of Might Bite’s. Betfair Chase winner Bristol De Mai was sixth and Traffic Fluide last to finish. Fox Norton – another for the victorious trainer in 2016, Colin Tizzard – was pulled up when not staying the trip.