2019 Kempton King George V Chase Preview & Ante-Post Betting Odds

It’s almost time for the advent calendar to go on the kitchen wall and that means we can start thinking about one of the biggest races of the National Hunt campaign. The 2019 Kempton Park King George V Chase (December 26th) should be an absolute thriller! Seymour Biz looks at the most likely runners.

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AL BOUM PHOTO
Willie Mullins’s Gold Cup hero has that contest in his sights yet again and and it would be quite a shock were he to turn out here. He is declared at Tramore on New Year’s Day also, which was thee same route he took to Cheltenham last year. If he turns out here the trip is below his optimum distance. He made mistakes in the Irish Gold Cup at Punchestown when running second to Kemboy. 14/1

ALTIOR
Finally had his colours lowered at Ascot by Cyrname after 19 straight victories. He has been a champion two miler and that race was over 2m 5f, asking him to step up to three miles seems to be a big step up in trip. However Nicky Henderson knows his horse and what he is capable of. He was given a reasonably easy race at Ascot and the trainer could have used it as a blow for the horse prior to this Grade 1. 6/1

ASO
A winner of nine of his thirty starts and placed in eleven others, Venetia Williams’s front runner is a smart performer. In his latest outing in November at Wetherby in the Charlie Hall he was only headed two out and would have finished closer to the winner if he hadn’t hit the last. He is a dour galloper who always gives his best. 33/1

BELAMI DES PICTONS
Very lightly raced by trainer Venetia Williams so I assume this gelding has had his problems. He has run only twice in the last two years, he was pulled up at Sandown last February but ran a much better race this November. That was in the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham when he was fourth, 15 lengths behind the winner. 100/1

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BELLSHILL
Another of Willie Mullins’s strong contingent, he is a winner of over £1/2 million in prize money with 11 wins in 23 races. After winning the Leopardstown Gold Cup he went to Cheltenham for the Gold Cup but was pulled up there. He completed his outings last season at Punchestown finishing a poor fourth in their Gold Cup after making several mistakes. 33/1

BLACK CORTON
Paul Nicholls’s gelding had six runs last season and finally got his head in front at Sandown after finishing second on four occasions. He has had three runs this year, one of which was at Royal Ascot on the flat where he finished eighth of eleven. His latest run was on the chase course at the same venue where he ran a good third in the Sodexo Gold Cup. 50/1

CHACUN POUR SOI
Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci have high hopes for this 7-year-old gelding but whether it is over three miles I am not sure. He has only run twice for Mullins, both times over two miles and has won both contests. His latest win was in the Ryanair at Punchestown where he stayed on well to beat a very strong field. 20/1

CLAN DES OBEAUX
One of Paul Nicholls’s superstars and highly fancied for this race after his great victory in last year’s renewal. He beat Thistlecrack by a length and a half and they came home 12 lengths clear of the rest of the field. After this win he went on to run fifth in the Gold Cup and second in the Aintree Bowl. He has had a run this year in the Champion Chase at Down Royal in early November and finished second to Road to Respect on soft ground. He will have come on for that run and should figure in the closing stages here. 5/1

CYRNAME
Another of Paul Nicholls’s heavyweights and one of the favourites for this contest. He is a winner of his last three races including the Betfair Chase at Ascot last season but his latest victory in November was the one that has propelled him to the top of the betting. That was in the Christy 1965 Chase again at Ascot where he got the better of the great Altior. He made all that day and his jumping was faultless and although he loves to run at Ascot he is a dual winner at Kempton. But he will be running over 3 miles for the first time, 3 furlongs further than he has ever taken on before. 5/2

DOUBLE SHUFFLE
He seems to have been around for ever but is still only a 9-year-old, Tom George’s charge has been unable to get his head in front since winning here at Kempton in the 32red Chase in December 2016. His latest outing was at Ascot at the beginning of November where he finished 8th of 16, he was 24 lengths behind the winner. He will have the Grand National as his main target after finishing 12th last year. 66/1

DOUVAN
Like a Phoenix risen from the ashes the great Willie Mullins’s gelding is back in action. He won fourteen times in succession then finished lame in the 2017 Gold Cup at Cheltenham. He then had a year off before coming back to Cheltenham to run in the Queen Mother and falling four out when travelling strongly. He then ran in the Irish equivalent and was a very creditable second but had problems and was not seen on a racecourse for over 18 months. His latest run was at Clonmel where he won easily over 2m 4f, it’s great to see a champion like him back. 16/1

DUC DU GENIEVRES
This is one of Willie Mullins’s younger horses, just a 6-year-old. He was a dual winner at the end of last season including the Arkle at Cheltenham. He was unable to repeat that victory in the Ryanair at Punchestown in May finishing third. He came out for his reappearance in November and ran poorly over two miles at Navan, three miles looks a little to far at this stage of his career. 33/1

ELEGANT ESCAPE
Trainer Colin Tizzard thinks a lot of this horse, he was a dual winner in the 2018/2019 campaign. After those wins he went to Cheltenham and ran in the Gold Cup to run a creditable sixth, holding his place in third until the last two furlongs. He has had a run already this season in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby where he finished second to Ballyoptic, he will have come on for that run. 40/1

ENJEU D’ARTHEL
This French challenger is just a 5-year-old but was a consistent performer on the continent last season. He has reappeared this year and has already won at Vichy and Auteuil, latterly over 2m 6f on heavy ground so a three mile trip should be no problem but I feel his time is to come. 100/1

FOOTPAD
This French bred gelding is in the charge of Willie Mullins who had great success with him in 2017/2018. He won five races on the bounce that season then fell at Naas, ran second at Leopardstown and then came to Cheltenham last March to run in the Ryanair. He could finish only eighth that day, 26 lengths behind the winner and was reported to have burst blood vessels. He had his first run of this season in November at Thurles and was a convincing winner over 2m6f. He will improve for that run. 14/1

LOSTINTRANSLATION
Colin Tizzard’s 7-year-old has pushed himself to the top of the betting after a fine victory at Haydock Park in the Betfair Chase. This classy win comes on top of a win earlier in November and these two victories bode well for the rest of the season. All this comes on top of his fine previous season when he won twice at Cheltenham and Aintree and shows he is improving steadily under Tizzard’s guidance. 5/2

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MERCIAN PRINCE
A winner of 7 of his 23 chases for trainer Amy Murphy this horse who has been consistent for his trainer but has had a shaky start to this campaign. He was pulled up at Cheltenham in the BetVictor Gold Cup in the middle of November then was last of five finishers in an Ascot handicap a week later. The Grand National will be his target, a race he finished 19th in last year. 100/1

MIGHT BITE
Nicky Henderson’s charge won this in 2017 after eyeballing Bristol De Mai. He was then defeated in the Gold Cup after Native River did the same to him but he bounced back to win the Bowl at Aintree. Last season he only ran three times, he ran poorly in the Betfair Chase at Haydock, was well beaten in last year’s King George and then was pulled up in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham. Henderson claims to have got him right again but that remains to be seen. 25/1

MIN
Yet another top class Willie Mullins horse, Min won three out of four last season including the Dublin Chase at Leopardstown and the Melling Chase at Aintree. His only blot was in the Queen Mother at Cheltenham where he raced too keenly and was caught short of room three out. He ran a fine second in the Champion Chase at Punchestown in April but has yet to race over further than 2m 4f. 16/1

MISTER WHITAKER
A dual winner last season for trainer Mick Channon who has a few jumpers at his mainly flat stable. This gelding finished his campaign well by winning the Silver Trophy at Cheltenham in April over a distance of 2m 4f. On his previous outing he had tried a trip of three miles or more for the first time in the Ultima Handicap at the Festival but was pulled up and it is yet to be seen if he gets this distance. 66/1

MONALEE
Henry De Bromhead’s 8-year-old managed just one win last year in a race at Gowran Park but went on from that to try his luck in the Ryanair at Cheltenham. He put in a creditable performance but hit two out and was only able to finish fourth. He ran against Douvan at Clonmel in November this season and was a well beaten third, beaten 17 lengths. 33/1

NATIVE RIVER
The Gold Cup hero of 2018 is still a force to be reckoned with despite not winning since. Colin Tizzard started last season’s campaign in the Betfair Chase at Haydock but his charge was unable to make any impression on course specialist Bristol De Mai. He then ran lazily in this race and had to be pushed along to finish third. Finally he went to Cheltenham to defend his crown but again was never really travelling but managed fourth. Without a prep run it’s hard to judge how he will perform but Tizzard will have him fit for this. 33/1

OK CORRAL
This lightly raced 9-year-old trained by Nicky Henderson has been a model of consistency winning 5 of his 10 races and placed in 3 others. Last season he won his first two races but faced only three opponents in each. He went on from there to run in the 3m 7f Challenge Cup at the Festival where he was pulled up before two out in the amateur riders event. 33/1

REAL STEEL
Another Willie Mullins gelding who was dual winner last year at Fairyhouse and Thurles. He has come out this season and already scored at Punchestown is May and Down Royal in November, latterly in a Grade 2 race. He took up the running two out and romped home winning by 14 lengths. Although he has yet to race over further than 2m 5f this young horse could be anything. 25/1

ROAD TO RESPECT
A consistent performer from Noel Meade’s yard, he won the Grade 1 Champion Chase at Down Royal in November 2018. From there he was highly aimed including the Ryanair where he finished third, beaten only three lengths. He then went to Aintree for the Betway Bowl but was well beaten there. In his first run this season he went to Down Royal and landed the highly prestigious Champion Chase this November proving his ability over three miles. 16/1

SAINT CALVADOS
Harry Whittington’s 6-year-old gelding won first time out last season but failed to get his head in front for the rest of the campaign including the Queen Mother at Cheltenham. He had a wind operation during the summer and promptly won first time out again in a Class 2 at Cheltenham. He returned there for the Shloer Chase in November and was last of four but only six lengths behind the winner. But the furthest he has ever run is 2m 1f and 3m looks beyond him. 50/1

SNOW FALCON
A dual winner last season in Ireland, trainer Noel Meade considered his gelding good enough to take to place on the flat in the Ascot Stakes at the Royal meeting. Unfortunately he could manage only 13th from 19 runners, over 31 lengths behind the winner. He came back out in October in a Grade 2 at Gowan Park and put a classy field to the sword winning by over 6 lengths. He then went to Down Royal in November to run over 3 miles in the Champion Chase but finished last of five, almost 28 lengths behind the winner. 50/1

THISTLECRACK
A real top class chaser in the care of Colin Tizzard, a winner of 13 of his 24 starts but he is an 11-year-old now. That said, he ran a cracking second in this race last year and took the lead four out only to be headed at the last. He went on from this to run in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham but was pulled up before the 17th. He has not been out since but Tizzard will have him in peak condition. 33/1

TOUT EST PERMIS
Another of Noel Meade’s young horses this 6-year-old grey was a triple winner last season including the Troytown at Navan over three miles. In his two outings in this campaign he has struggled to find his form running third at Punchestown and sixth at Clonmel where he was 23 lengths behind Douvan. He needs to recapture last year’s form to figure here. 50/1

VALTOR
He has been a busy horse during his time in France but since moving to Nicky Henderson in November last year has had only four outings. He won a Listed race at Ascot in December then went to Cheltenham in January for the Cotswold Chase but was pulled up after skewing right three out. After this setback he went to Aintree for the Grand National and got round in 18th place. He came out fresh in November at Ascot for a prep run over hurdles and proved his fitness to justify favouritism winning by two lengths. He will be aimed at the National again. 66/1

VINNDICATION
One of the stars of Kim Bailey’s yard, this 6-year-old has only had 9 runs in his life but has won 7 times and looks to have a great future in front of him. Unbeaten in his first season, he came out last year and won his first two races of the campaign before running third in a very hot contest at Sandown. He went to Cheltenham for the JLT when he was not expected to and finished fifth. He had wind surgery in April so there was clearly some problems. He came out this season at Ascot in the Sodexo Gold Cup and was able to justify favouritism to gain success over a strong field. 25/1

VOIX DU REVE
This has been a busy horse for trainer Willie Mullins, running ten times last season but he secured five victories in those races. He ran at Cheltenham in the JLT and after making a blunder at the first he made headway but unseated his rider three out. After this setback it was off to Fairyhouse for the Ryanair Gold Cup and again wasn’t fluent at the first but improved to take the honours and gain a Grade 1 victory. He finished his season at Punchestown in May but finished a remote fourth when probably over the top. 50/1

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