The highlight of the racing calendar over the busy Christmas period is undoubtedly the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.
The race, which is run over a distance of three miles, negotiating eighteen fences, is now the second most prestigious chase in England, surpassed only by the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The last ten renewals of the race have been dominated by horses trained by Paul Nicholls, Nicky Henderson and Colin Tizzard.
Here is a look at the trends and statistics on the King George VI Chase based on the last ten years:
It could be argued that horses aged six to nine have the slight edge over their older peers in the race in recent years, but it is not a clear-cut trend.
- Nine of the last ten winners were officially rated 172 or higher.
- Nine of the last ten winners ran in the last forty days.
- Ten of the last ten winners had won over three miles plus.
- Ten of the last ten winners had won at least one Grade One chase.
- Nine of the last ten winners had won at Kempton before over the race distance.
- Paul Nicholls has won five of the last ten renewals.
- Nicky Henderson had notable success with Long Run in this race before Might Bite came along.
- Colin Tizzard broke the Nicholls/Henderson stranglehold on this race in 2015 and 2016.
- Irish trained runners have a very poor record in this race, boasting just three winners in the last forty years. Those winners were: Florida Pearl (2001) and Kicking King (2004, 2005).
- Record of the previous year’s winner: 11132U1P4
- Betfair Chase winner: 117112111
- Cheltenham Gold Cup winner: 1112
- First three home in the Cheltenham Gold Cup: 311121P1U
- Charlie Hall Chase winner: P41
- The last ten winners came from the first three in the horse racing betting markets.
- Six favourites have won in the last ten renewals.
- All the winners since 2005 have been priced 9/2 or shorter.
Bristol De Mai
Won the Betfair Chase again in fine style and strangely does not get all the plaudits and recognition that he deserves.
Many unfairly describe him as a “one trick pony” but he will be out to set the record straight on Boxing Day as he chases down the lucrative second leg of the Jockey Club Triple Crown prize.
Clan Des Obeaux
The six-year-old ran a creditable race in the Betfair Chase coming along with a sustained challenge a couple of fences from home, before just fading back.
The suspicion with him is that he likes it fairly soft and he does not look like getting that type of ground on Boxing Day.
A former Gold Cup winner but he has been dogged with niggles and injuries ever since.
He ran a blinder of a race in the BetVictor Chase at Cheltenham last time out given the length of time he had been off the track. He will certainly have plenty of each-way punters following him.
Trained by Tom George, the eight-year-old ran second to Might Bite in this race last year and Kempton clearly brings out the best in him.
He ran well at Aintree last time out and is another who looks well over-priced.
Last year’s winner but comes into this race on the back of a spectacular flop in the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park.
He is the type of horse to bounce right back and understandably he is the favourite once again for this contest.
Another Gold Cup winner in the field and the most recent one at that.
He ran a great race behind Bristol De Mai in the Betfair Chase and you cannot imagine him finishing out of the frame in this renewal of the King George. Which one of the top three places he occupies is the million dollar question here?
After winning the Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot there is plenty to like about this Paul Nicholls-trained grey and he should stay out the distance.
If he wins this race he will evoke many good memories of another grey and former King George VI winner, the legendary Desert Orchid.
Tea For Two
Has 19lb to find on Native River and would be a shock winner of this race. His last win came at Aintree in 2017 when he won the Bowl but he has shown nothing since.
His comeback race at Haydock was very encouraging and it showed there was still plenty of fire in his belly.
A reproduction of that run must put him in with a shout on Wednesday afternoon.
Ruth Jefferson's stable star has not been seen on a racecourse since beating Cue Card in February's Ascot Chase and his comeback run will be right in at the deep end here.
The seven-year-old has been well supported in the betting but this will be a really major ask and others look better equipped on this occasion.
Nigel Twiston-Davies looks to be in a prime position to put the naysayers to bed with his Bristol De Mai and the seven-year-old can add to his Betfair Chase victory by taking this.
Native River and Might Bite are our predictions to chase him home.
888sport suggests: Bristol De Mai (win).
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*