Char­lie McCann

Char­lie McCann gives his thoughts on the King Ge­orge V1 Chase at Kemp­ton on Box­ing Day

Racing Ahead - - CONTENTS -

Will it be Thistle­crack or Might Bite on Box­ing Day?

Very sad to hear of the pass­ing of lead­ing owner Alan Potts last month and his Gold Cup win­ner Siz­ing John was a late de­fec­tion from last month’s Bet­fair Chase at Haydock with trainer Jes­sica Har­ring­ton not pre­pared to al­low her sta­ble star to run on heavy ground first time out.

With no £1m bonus up for grabs I would be sur­prised if Siz­ing John lined up at Kemp­ton Park on Box­ing Day for the 32Red spon­sored King Ge­orge VI Chase and un­less some­thing dra­matic hap­pens at Haydock I make Nicky Hen­der­son’s Might Bite (9/4 with BetVic­tor) some­thing of a good thing following his im­pres­sive reap­pear­ance at Sandown.

The se­lec­tion has had his quirks and crit­ics in the past and veered badly across the track when nearly throwing away the RSA Chase at Chel­tenham back in March, but he looked a re­formed char­ac­ter at the Esher track although his win­ning time was noth­ing out of the or­di­nary.

The se­lec­tion first came to promi­nence when fall­ing at the last,with the race at his mercy, in the Grade 1 Kauto Star (for­merly Feltham) Novices’ Chase at the cor­re­spond­ing race 12 months ago.

The ground at Kemp­ton last year was no worse than good to soft and it should be noted that Nicky Hen­der­son’s eight-yearold is un­proven on heavy ground and con­fi­dence would be tem­pered if the heav­ens opened. Might Bite also jumped slightly out to his left at both Kemp­ton and Sandown but his fenc­ing was elec­tric on his reap­pear­ance and he looks the one to beat.

Last year’s win­ner Thistle­crack (7/2 at BetVic­tor) hasn’t been seen on the track since go­ing down by a nose to the ill-fated Many Clouds in the Cotswold Chase at Chel­tenham in Jan­uary. He is re­ported to be mak­ing his reap­pear­ance over tim­ber at New­bury and if he im­presses there must be a pos­si­bil­ity that con­nec­tions will de­cide to re­vert to tim­ber full time.

Fox Nor­ton (8/1 with BetVic­tor) – in the same colours as Siz­ing John and same sta­ble as Thistle­crack­has won his last three but he has never run over 3m although he cer­tainly wasn’t stop­ping when win­ning the 2m 4f Melling Chase at Ain­tree back in the spring.

Trainer Colin Tiz­zard hinted af­ter Fox Nor­ton’s suc­cess­ful reap­pear­ance at Chel­tenham in the 2m Schloer Chase that he might take in the King Ge­orge af­ter the Tin­gle Creek and we now know there will be no £1m bonus for Siz­ing John to chase at Kemp­ton.

It will be in­ter­est­ing to see if Wil­lie Mullins steps Dou­van up in trip for the con­test. Dou­van was re­port- ed to be un­der con­sid­er­a­tion for the John Durkan at Punchestown, where he might lock horns with Siz­ing John, and con­nec­tions are also con­sid­er­ing keep­ing the horse to the min­i­mum trip with the Tin­gle Creek also in the mix es­pe­cially following the news that Al­tior would miss the race.

As long as the ground is not bot­tom­less at Kemp­ton on Box­ing Day I think Might Bite will be very hard to beat and he gets a con­fi­dent vote.

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