King George VI Chase Grade 1

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Paul Moon

The Racing Horse

The King George VI Chase is one of the great races on the British calendar and always attracts the best longer distance runners and a good guide to the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Thistlecrack won 12 months ago and connections will hope he is fit enough to defend his title. Of course he’s had his issues since that easy win last year and as a result missed later targets like the Gold Cup but if he returns at the same level of form he will be a massive player.

The King George is a key part of the festive period and always a fantastic spectacle so we offer trends to help us enjoy the race just a little more. But first, it is hard to believe that an Irish Stable has only won this race three times in 31 years and given their prowess with staying chasers that seems bizarre! Another amazing statistic is Paul Nicholls has won this race 9 times. The trends also show it is a good race for favourites.

The key statistics are 14 of the last 15 winners have raced within the last 5 weeks, finished in the top 3 in their most recent race and 10 of them won last time out so telling us to concentrate on in-form horses.

2017 King George VI Chase Grade 1

14/15: Had won a Grade One chase before
14/15: Returned 9/2 or shorter in the betting
14/15: Had raced within the last 5 weeks
14/15: Finished in the top three last time out
13/15: Placed favourites
13/15: French (10) or Irish bred (3)
13/15: Officially rated 169 or higher
13/15: Had won over 3m or further (fences) before
11/15: Aged 8yo or younger
10/15: Had won a race over fences at Kempton before
10/15: Winning favourites
10/15: Won last time out
..9/15: Ran in the Betfair Chase (Haydock) last time out
..8/15: Aged 6 or 7yo
..7/15: Won by a previous winner of the race
..7/15: Trained by Paul Nicholls (9 times in all)
..5/15: Ridden by Ruby Walsh
..2/15: Ridden by Barry Geraghty
..2/15: Ridden by Noel Fehily
..2/15: Won by an Irish-based yard (only 3 in the last 31 runnings)

Tizzard or Henderson that is the question!

Colin Tizzard and Nicky Henderson have trained 4 of the last 7 winners (2 each) and it might be 5 of the last 8, the average winning SP in the last 15 years is 7/2.

Latest news on the race

Nicky Henderson feels Might Bite’s work at home has been better than ever this season as he puts the finishing touches on the hot favourite’s preparation for the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. The RSA winner, who threw away the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase 12 months ago when falling at the last, had a pipe opener at Sandown and is no bigger than 11/8 to take the Christmas title.

Might Bite an improved performer - Nicky Henderson

When asked yesterday if Might Bite was an improved performer on the Seven Barrows gallops than he was last season, Henderson said: “Yes is the answer to that, yes he definitely is. I think we always thought he was a nice horse in the making whereas now his standard of work is definitely higher this year than last year. We’re happy anyway. He’s been good, he had a school on Thursday and worked on Friday. That was good and we need to do one more bit of work this week. There’s quite a gap between that Sandown race and Boxing Day, but he's a clean-winded horse, he’s a big horse but not a big barrel of a horse that takes a huge amount of work. We can do it all at home and he hasn’t missed anything."

The Racing Horse advice is to back Might Bite and 6/4 is readily available but ideally we wanted something closer to 7/4. Our assumption is that Thistlecrack might still need another run before being seen at this best...

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