Thursday 26th December: Kempton Park, 3m, 32Red King George VI Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4yo+)
The King George VI Chase which is open to horses aged four and over was established in 1937 and was named in honour of the new King. The race was only run twice before the Second World War and was not run during the war years, as Kempton Park was used as a prisoner of war camp. It was re-established in 1947 when it was run for the first time on Boxing Day. The King George VI is only surpassed by the Cheltenham Gold Cup as the more prestigious chase in the calendar.
Fourteen horses have won the race more than once. Desert Orchid won the race four times but was surpassed by Kauto Star when he won for the fifth time in 2011.
Over the last 20 renewals the race has been won by six to eight year old horses on 16 occasions, with six of the last seven winners coming from this age group.
The betting is very informative with eight favourites have obliged in the last 12 renewals and two of the other three winners could have been found in the first three in the betting.
Eight of the last 12 winners won on their last run before the King George and 11 of the last 12 winners had their previous run within 44 days of the race. Previous course form is a good pointer as eight of the last 12 winners had a previous win at Kempton and 11 of the last 12 winners had run at least once previously at the course.
Distance form is vital as 11 of the last 12 winners had won at least once over distances between 2 miles 7 furlongs and 3 miles 1 furlong. Horses with reasonable chasing experience tend to do well with all 11 of the last 12 winners having run at least eight times over chase fences, with 10 of the last 12 winners previously winning at least five times over the bigger obstacles.
An Official Rating of 172 of higher has been required to win the race in eight of the last 12 renewals and 11 of the last 12 winners had also previously won a Grade 1 race.
The Colin Tizzard trained Lostintranslation was a work in progress over shorter trips for much of his novice chasing campaign last season. The seven year old bay gelding made his final run of the season at Aintree stepping up in distance to 3 miles 1 furlong and showed his potential at staying distances by winning the Grade 1 Mildmay Novices Chase.
His biggest test to date came at Haydock in November when he won the Grade 1 Betfair Chase over a similar distance, seeing off Bristol De Mai by 1½ lengths. A change of tactics was also employed at Haydock as he was held up for much of the race, having been making most of the running in five of his previous seven starts over fences. If similar tactics are employed on Boxing Day at Kempton, it could well bring out the best in him and he could prove very hard to beat.
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Tony Ward is a keen follower of horseracing and provides readers of EclipseMagazine.co.uk with betting tips and explanations of that complicated pastime. Please note, Tony’s tips are his opinion only and you follow them at your own risk.