Paul Jacobs on his fancies for the King George and Coral Welsh Hurdle
Naps king with fancies for King George and Coral Welsh Hurdle
The King George VI Chase has always been the highlight of the Christmas period and indeed one of the bigger spectacles in the national hunt season and this year Might Bite will be out to join some greats in the multiple winning list for the Kempton Park event.
Greats like Captain Christy (2 wins), Silver Buck, Wayward Lad (3), Desert Orchid (4) and of course Kauto Star (5) adorn that toll call of honour.
So what of Might Bite last year? Well to my eyes he was workmanlike at best. That came as a result of being a victim of his own running style when he raced prominently and hassled Bristol De Mai before taking up the running at the 10th.
If you look back at the race again he was seriously all out at the end as both Double Shuffle and Tea For Two finished with a flourish down the home straight.
BDM could once again take him on if ground conditions are testing, while Native River may also be in the mix although you would suspect this track will not play to his strengths and he has ‘left-handed’ written all over him.
Footpad can’t be trusted to jump around and is now unlikely to run here, while Snow Falcon is better over shorter and Thistlecrack is a shadow of the machine that waltz home in this classic chase in 2016.
Double Shuffle’s Kempton record of 122 makes him a place player but no more and because of his Wetherby tumble he is still available at 40/1.
Politologue is a potential improver over this trip and indeed on my figures is only 5lbs off the current title holder and at around 20/1 he is one of two potential winners I have already backed each-way and all of his best form has come on flat tracks.
Stable mate Clan Des Obeaux is the other likely massive improver this season. He has always been the apple of Paul Nicholls’ eye and has just needed time to strengthen up into his massive frame.
He has reportedly been working superbly well at home and I have been told that there is every chance that both horses could line up on Boxing Day.
The other major Christmas betting event is the Coral Welsh National at Chepstowon December 27th.
Rock The Kasbah was aimed at the race last year but the ground predictably went against him. Of course he has to be of interest following his win over an extended 27 furlongs at Cheltenham last time out, but the weather is almost certain to intervene again.
The enigmatic Wild West Wind has the latent ability to win a race of this nature but seems to be forming a mind of his own about the game. He was still travelling nicely in front last year when departing just after the halfway mark. This lightly raced nine-year-old goes well fresh, but obviously comes with major risks attached.
Seventh behind Native River two years ago when the ground simply wasn’t soft enough, the mare Baie Des Iles is a potential player, but the one I really like best is Cheltenham Gold Cup ninth Americain.
Harry Fry's charge simply can’t have the ground deep enough, has a fabulous record when fresh, is best left-handed and has been given a real life line by the handicapper being a mere 6lbs higher than for his last success at Uttoxeter in March 2017 following a break.
In the hope that he runs here instead of the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury, he could well be an intriguing player at around the 20/1 marker.
AND FINALLY… if this column reaches you before this horse runs again, buyer, or should that be punter, beware.
Kingsley Klarion ran in the 5.20 at Wolverhampton on Wednesday November 21st and I have to admit I am still mystified by his run when you take in mind the betting patterns surrounding the horse.
Backed from 9/1 into 7/2 in a place
the night before. He did nothing but drift on the day of the race back out to a starting price of 11/1!
Held up as per normal by Tim Clark, last of the 12 runners down the back straight of this 6f event, he was for some reason asked to weave around in rear which was very weird and that was just for starters.
Then still travelling on the bridle on the home bend, Clark simply didn’t touch him, going to the outside and then when he had no chance of winning he took his partner into the main body of the pack and merely pushed out among his rivals from the distance finishing strongly.
He would have to have been Arazi MkII to have won from there, but his progress when pushed out under minimal pressure by Clark was marked, coming home ninth.
Go have a look at the race and ask yourself again why the hell don’t we have professional stewards to pick up this kind of awful race riding which may or may not have been premeditated.
Americain. simply can’t have the ground deep enough and has a wonderful record when fresh