Henry De Bromhead has labelled the King George as his nine year old Monalee's big Christmas target having been close to running him in the Grade One last term but changing the plan at the last minute.
Monalee is one of his leading chances in the big chase events this term after his spirited close fourth in the Gold Cup lat term, just coming up short behind Al Boum Photo, Santini and Lostintranslation.
Although not being able to land any of his three events last term the nine year old still showed plenty of talent when finishing in the frame in all of his events, with a close second in the Savills Chase behind Delta Work one of his best efforts of the season.
He returned this season in the Boomerang.ie Chase at Thurles and although travelling well throughout the race, faded late on and ultimately it was used as a blow out for the gelding ahead of his run at Kempton on Boxing Day.
(Credit ATR) De Bromhead was happy with his return and is very excited about running him at Kempton saying: “We were thinking of going to Kempton with Monalee last year and decided against it, but we felt if we didn’t do it this year we’d never do it. I think the race should suit him and if we’re not there we’ve no chance.
“We said we’d give it a go. He seems in great form, so why not?
“Thurles was his normal first run of the season, but we’re probably more used to that now.
“Last year we were a bit disappointed after his first run, and that probably had a bit to do with us not travelling last year.
“This year we are used to it. It was fine, he took a nice blow at the third last, so he’ll improve plenty for the run and he seems in mighty form now.
“I’m not sure if there’s any improvement in him, but he’s rated 170. I think when you are up at those ratings it’s more a case of who is in the best form on the day, who does the race suit, who gets the run of the race.
“I felt we didn’t get the run of the race in the Gold Cup. I don’t know if he has to improve – I think he’s as good as any of the ones he’s taking on, and we’ll see on the day.
“Obviously he’s not been before, but we’re hoping the track will suit.”