The King George VI Chase is one of the highlights of the jumps season – with many of the top National Hunt horses to follow in action.
The King George VI Chase is widely considered as the second most important staying horse racing betting chase of the season after the Gold Cup and it is a race that has been won by some legendary horses down the years. Kauto Star won the race five times, people’s favourite Orchid three times and other top class winners like Best Mate, Kicking King and Long Run also grace its roll of honour.
The Grade One race is run over a trip of three miles at Kempton Park on Boxing Day and is the highlight of Christmas for many racing fans. As well as being a huge contest in its own right, the King George VI Chase is also a key trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
King George VI Chase History:
First run in 1937, the King George was named after the new British King at the time and was first run on Boxing Day in 1947, a tradition that has been retained ever since. The first winner was Southern Hero who remains the oldest ever scorer at the age of 12, while the youngest was the five-year-old Manicou in 1950.
King George VI Chase 2019 Result:
Everybody likes to see a ding-dong battle to the line in races of this magnitude but when a horse wins by a country mile, like Clan Des Obeaux did in 2019, you cannot help but feel a little deflated. Of course that is very unfair to the connections and backers of the winner who were obviously elated!
Supposedly Paul Nicholls’ second string, Clan Des Obeaux romped to a 21-length victory for the Ditcheat team as his stablemate and race favourite Cyrname was left trailing in his wake. Colin Tizzard’s Lostintranslation was a shadow of his Betfair Chase self, and was pulled up a long way from home, while Cyrname came under pressure turning for home. Meanwhile, Sam Twiston-Davies was poised and cruising on Clan Des Obeaux before pulling further and further clear down the home straight.
Clan Des Obeaux incidentally emulated Nicholls’ former stable star Kauto Star by winning back-to-back renewals. However, he flopped once again at Cheltenham, finishing a well beaten eighth in the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
King George VI Chase – Trial Races:
There are several key races for punters to keep an eye on in the lead-up to the King George with the Betfair Chase being the number one port of call. Any horse that wins at Haydock has the opportunity to lift the Triple Crown if they can win at Kempton and then again in the Gold Cup, so in most cases they head to Kempton at Christmas.
Other races to follow include the 1965 Chase at Ascot and the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon. *NB – In 2020 none of these race winners have been entered in the King George.
Most Successful King George VI Chase Trainer:
No surprises for guessing that Paul Nicholls is the most successful trainer in the history of the King George with his trophy cabinet crammed with no less than 11 winner’s medals. Nicholls has dominated the race over the past 25 years with See More Business (1997, 1999), Kauto Star (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011), Silviniaco Conti (2013, 2014) and Clan Des Obeaux (2018, 2019) all landing the spoils for the Ditcheat handler.
Other trainers who have recorded multiple wins in the King George VI Chase are Nicky Henderson (3 wins), Colin Tizzard (2 wins) & T J Taaffe (2 wins).
Most Successful King George VI Chase Jockey:
Ruby Walsh sits at the top of the tree due to his long association with Kauto Star. Walsh was on-board the Paul Nicholls trained star for all five of his wins at Kempton which put him way out in front.
Last 10 King George VI Chase Winners:
・2019 – Clan Des Obeaux (11/2)
・2018 – Clan Des Obeaux (12/1)
・2017 – Might Bite (6/4 fav)
・2016 – Thistlecrack (11/10 fav)
・2015 – Cue Card (9/2)
・2014 – Silviniaco Conti (15/8 fav)
・2013 – Silviniaco Conti (7/2)
・2012 – Long Run (15/8 fav)
・2011 – Kauto Star (3/1)
・2010 – Long Run (9/2)
King George VI Chase – Trends:
・Age: 9/10 winners were aged between 6 and 8.
・Price: 4/10 favourites have won, 8/10 came from the top three in the betting.
・Last Run: 6/10 won on their last run before the King George VI Chase, 10/10 winners ran within the last 44 days.
・Haydock: 8/10 ran in the Betfair Chase on their last run, 4/8 won, 2 placed
・Course Form: 10/10 had at least one previous run at Kempton, 8/10 had at least one previous win at Kempton.
・Rating: 6/10 winners were rated 169 or higher.
・Grade One wins: 10/10 had at least one previous win in a Grade One, 9/10 had at least two wins in a Grade One race.
・Season Form: 10/10 had at least one run that season, 7/10 winners had at least one win that season.
King George VI Chase Tips & Pointers:
・Avoid those whose last win was in a handicap.
・Go with horses that ran in a non handicap last time out.
・Avoid last win at Aintree, Ascot, Cheltenham or Kempton.
・No bigger than 12/1.
・Sent off no bigger than 6/1 last time out.
・Won a Grade One last time out.
・Ran in either a Grade One or a Grade Two last time out.
・Placed within last 70 days.
・Last win came in a field of 4-9 runners.
・Last win came off at least 11st 7lbs.
・Ridden at least twice by the declared jockey.
2020 King George VI Chase Preview:
Paul Nicholls appears to hold all the aces again this year with his trio of entries – Cyrname, Clan Des Obeaux and Real Steel. Cyrname was pretty much faultless when taking the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby at the end of October and looks like a much stronger horse this season.
Hat-trick seeking Clan Des Obeaux had a nice warm-up in the Betfair Chase, while Real Steel can build upon his 1965 Chase run, his first since joining Nicholls from Willie Mullins. Of the others, Lostintranslation is the type of horse to bounce right back and cannot be dismissed, and Monalee (9/1 in the online betting) was considered unlucky by many in last year’s Gold Cup.