PAUL JA­COBS

Paul Ja­cobs on his fancies for the King Ge­orge and Coral Welsh Hur­dle

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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

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