Andy new­ton

Andy New­ton with all the key point­ers in your bid to find the big Christ­mas win­ner at Kemp­ton

Racing Ahead - - CONTENTS -

Key stats for the great King Ge­orgeVl at Kemp­ton

So, that’s 2017 pretty much done and dusted! But be­fore we of­fi­cially head into 2018 we’ve the small mat­ter of the King Ge­orgeVI Chase on Box­ing Day to take care of and hope­fully I’ve got all the key trends that will help pay for this year’s turkey!

It’s a race that is prob­a­bly sec­ond only to the Grand Na­tional if we are talk­ing about at­tract­ing non-rac­ing fans to have a bet, as for many the King Ge­orge is a key part of the fes­tive pe­riod.

And in the most re­cent years it’s cer­tainly been a prof­itable one for pun­ters, backed up again 12 months ago with another favourite – Thistle­crack – mak­ing it another woe­ful one for the book­mak­ers. Yes, the lay­ers have cer­tainly had to fork out for a lot of Christ­mas re­turns to pun­ters since the turn of the cen­tury.From 2002 we’ve seen a stag­ger­ing 10 of the last 15 (67%) favourites take first prize - with 13 of the last 15 mar­ket leaders also placed, while a huge 93% of the last 15 win­ners re­turned 9/2 or shorter in the bet­ting, sug­gest­ing the back­ers don’t of­ten get this race wrong! So,will it be more of the same this year? Run over 3m, and nor­mally at a de­cent gal­lop, it’s a race that in re­cent years has been dom­i­nated by past win­ners.We’ve seen Na­tional Hunt leg­ends like Desert Or­chid, The Fel­low, One Man, See More Busi­ness, Kick­ing King, Kauto Star, Long Run and, most-re­cently, Sil­vini­aco Conti all land the King Ge­orge at least twice, and this is cer­tainly another fac­tor that the book­ies must hate with the ‘once-a-year’ fes­tive pun­ters re­mem­ber­ing past he­roes and latch­ing onto them.

So, if this is to be re­peated again this year it will be the turn of the Colin Tiz­zard­trained Thistle­crack, who re­warded favourite back­ers 12 months ago, to try and up­hold the ‘past champions’ good record.

How­ever, as we all know he’s had his is­sues since that easy win last year and as a re­sult missed later tar­gets like the Gold Cup – we’ll have to see not only if he makes the race, but also if he re­turns at the same level of form,but it goes with­out say­ing he’d be a mas­sive player if liningup.

So, what are the other main trends to look for?

We’ve al­ready men­tioned how well the favourites have done re­cently; plus, past win­ners must al­ways be feared, but in terms of train­ers to note,then the cham­pion han­dler – Paul Ni­cholls – is your man. He’s won the race 9 times in to­tal,in­clud­ing 7 times in the last 11 re­newals. How­ever, with not a lot of ammo at the mo­ment in this sphere then Ni­cholls might have to sit this out again. And in­stead the Colin Tiz­zard and Nicky Hen­der­son yards, who have won four of the last 7 run­nings be­tween them, look more of a threat with Thistle­crack and last sea­son’s RSA Chase win­ner, Might Bite, fig­ur­ing promi­nently in the bet­ting at the time of writ­ing.

What about the Ir­ish Chal­lenge? Con­sid­er­ing the Ir­ish have had a lot of top stay­ing chasers over the years it’s slightly sur­pris­ing that they’ve only landed the race three times in the last 30 years, with the last of those com­ing back in 2005 with Kick­ing King.Yes,they’ve hit the cross­bar a few times,most no­tably in 2015 with the ill-fat­edVau­tour fail­ing by just a head,and Don Cos­sack fall­ing when hold­ing ev­ery chance. It’s also sur­pris­ing that lead­ing Ir­ish han­dler – Wil­lie Mullins – has only won the race once (Florida Pearl,2001) so de­spite any­thing he sends over sure to at­tract at­ten­tion it’s still stat we can’t ig­nore.

The Ir­ish do have a chance though with the cur­rent Gold Cup hero – Siz­ing John.It will be in­ter­est­ing if this Jes­sica Har­ring­ton-trained 7 year-old makes the trip over or if con­nec­tions opt to stay in Ire­land for other tar­gets, but if he does then he’s another that would tick a lot of the main trends.

Other key stats to have on your side are that 14 of the last 15 win­ners have raced within the last 5 weeks, plus had also fin­ished in the top 3 in their most re­cent race. Of those 14 win­ners, we also saw nine come into the race off the back of a win,so it’s cer­tainly worth look­ing out for in-form win­ning horses that have raced in­side the last 5 weeks.

Are there any good trial races to look for?Yes,the the Bet­fair Chase - run at Haydock Park (25th Nov) – has cer­tainly be­come the most sig­nif­i­cant over the years. Nine of the last 15 win­ners had run in that con­test be­fore win­ning here – with

Cue Card in 2015 be­ing the most re­cent ex­am­ple of this. By the time you read this that 3m chase would have been run (25th Nov),so it’s cer­tainly worth look­ing back at – not only the win­ner, but also horses that just con­tested that race.

The final things to look for are the age as 11 of the last 15 win­ners were 8 or younger, plus win­ning form over fences here at Kemp­ton is another plus,with 10 of the last 15 win­ners tick­ing that stat too. Many feel that as Kemp­ton’s a flat track then horses with­out proven stamina might get away with run­ning well here, but it’s also worth re­mem­ber­ing that many races here are run at a much quicker,more even pace – mainly due to the flat na­ture of the track. There­fore, run­ning at a slightly faster pace, then they will cer­tainly re­quire proven stamina in the clos­ing stages,plus the abil­ity to jump fences at a slightly quicker pace means more ac­cu­racy in that de­part­ment is also needed – backed-up again by the fact 66% of past win­ners have won here over fences in the past.

So, I hope these help, and hope­fully once the final run­ners are out these trends will point you to­wards another King Ge­orge win­ner and make the final few days of 2017 ones to re­mem­ber.

Happy Xmas and NewYear.

Past King Ge­orgeVI ChaseWin­ners

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) 2009 – Kauto Star (8/13 fav) 2008 – Kauto Star (10/11 fav) 2007 – Kauto Star (4/6 fav) 2006 – Kauto Star (8/13 fav) 2005 – Kick­ing King (11/8 fav) 2004 – Kick­ing King (3/1 fav) 2003 – Edredon Bleu (25/1) 2002 – Best Mate (11/8 fav) Note: The 2005 re­newal was staged at Sandown Park

King Ge­orgeVI ChaseTrends

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 8 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 7 years-old 7/15 – Won by a pre­vi­ous win­ner of the race 7/15 – Trained by Paul Ni­cholls (9 times in all) 5/15 – Rid­den by RubyWalsh 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) Colin Tiz­zard and Nicky Hen­der­son have trained 4 of the last 7 win­ners (2 each) The av­er­age win­ning SP in the last 15 years is 7/2.

Thistle­crack won the King Ge­orge VI Chase at 11/10 last year

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