Guest Contribution From Horse Racing Specialist Seymour Biz
On Boxing Day, Kempton Park holds one of the best sporting events in the UK. The King George VI chase is the highlight of the dark, dank days of winter. Run over three miles round Kempton it requires a horse that has a great heart, is at the peak of condition and both horse and jockey are prepared to give their all. Luck does very, very rarely come into play in this race as we can see by past winners over recent years.
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The wonderful Kauto Star had the heart of a lion and his four wins under the magnificent Ruby Walsh are unlikely to be passed in my lifetime! Nothing quite of that quality in this years field. Long Run had a double and proved himself a fine horse in the Kempton mud. Then came Silviniaco Conti with another great double, Noel Fehily certainly knows how to ride the course. Cue Card ran a great race in 2015 to overcome his rivals and again ran a good race to come second last year, Thistlecrack proving too good for him. And so we come to this years renewal. Some of our old favourites are here in attendance but also some up and coming future heroes, so let’s have a look at the main combatants for this years race and try to untangle their relative pros and cons to see if we can find this years winner for the Kempton crowd to cheer home.
The obvious one to look at first is last years fine winner, Thistlecrack, he went to Cheltenham in January, was odds on and got beat. We haven’t seen him on a racecourse since he was beaten by Grand National winner, Many Clouds. Bit did he have an injury, how well is he now? His trainer will say he’s fit, but there is still that nagging doubt and at 3/1 does he represent value? Fox Norton looks a looks a good solid horse his victory at Aintree was exceptional, but at seven I think his time is to come.
Sizing John is another seven year old who looks like his time is to come even though he has recorded wins at Punchestown, Cheltenham, Leopardstown and Thurles. He will improve with time, I don’t think Kempton will suit him at this stage of his career. Douvan reportedly had a pelvic fracture after last years Queen Mother Champion Chase which is going to put him on the back foot besides that three miles looks beyond him at present. Tea For Two I do like.
A striking eight year old with good jumping ability but needs to be ridden more up front this is no a hold up type horse. In his life only ever ridden by Lizzie Kelly, if Noel Fehily were on this horse I would fancy him to finish in the top three, perhaps Nick Williams will see the light. Bristol de Mai had a tough race on Saturday at Wetherby coming out in front after a hard fought battle after the last with the rest of the field way behind.
He won’t face Blacklion in this race, he’s of to Aintree for the Grand National, so he will be glad of that. He will however face a different Cue Card provided he comes out of the Wetherby race OK. An unlucky faller on his seasonal first appearance, he has however fallen twice out of his last three starts, and it makes me wonder if as an eleven year old whether he is findig it hard work to raise his old legs high enough to clear the likes of the fences at Kempton and Cheltenham, whereas the Mildmay fences at Aintree are more suitable now.
That said if he gets round the old boy is as brave as they come and will give any of the field a run for their money. Might Bite is an eight year old big brown gelding who won The RSA Chase last year then went to Aintree and won the novice chase, a brilliant jumper, except for a mistake over these fences! Nicky Henderson has laid him out for this race and I was fortkunate to back him at 16/1 earlier in the year. His current odds are 7/2.
The stand out horse is Might Bite. His price reflects his great chance and my advice is to back him now, you won’t get 7/2 on the day!
Selection: Might Bite 7/2