Clan Des Obeaux

King George VI Chase 2019

The King George VI Chase, held at Kempton Racecourse, provides the Boxing Day main event in a brilliant week of racing in the UK and across the Irish Sea. The 2019 renewal takes place on Thursday December 26.

The staying Grade 1 chase takes place during the midway point in the National Hunt season and is also the second leg of the famous Stayers Triple Crown, with the added bonus of £1 million if any horse is able to win the Betfair Chase at Haydock, the Cheltenham Gold Cup at The Festival and the King George.

It is the highlight of a brilliant day’s racing, with the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase - known as the Novice King George - also on the card as well as the two-mile Christmas Hurdle, won in 2018 by Verdana Blue. These races can often throw up Cheltenham Festival winners, with Topofthegame coming second in the Kauto Star in 2018 before going on to win the RSA Chase at Cheltenham.

The last horse to win the Stayers Triple Crown was Kauto Star in 2006/07, Paul Nicholls’ iconic chaser taking the first of his five King George crowns in the process. The Colin Tizzard-trained Cue Card won the first two legs of the Triple Crown in 2015, but fell when in contention in the 2016 Gold Cup.

Kempton is a flat track which is often considered an easier track than Cheltenham with its stiff uphill finish. As a result, horses which have been running at intermediate trips often step up to run in the King George, such as the Willie Mullins-trained Vautour who was narrowly beaten in the 2015 renewal.

King George VI Chase Tips

The contenders for the King George VI Chase will usually come from trials such as the Betfair Chase as well as the previous year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. Horses which have run as novice chasers in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase and the RSA Chase can also make the jump into open Grade 1 company.

In 2018, Clan Des Obeaux (12/1) won the King George having finished fourth in the Betfair Chase a month earlier, while Might Bite in 2017 came out on top having won the RSA Chase in March of the same year.

Favourites have a strong record in the race, with three of the last five winners heading the market before the off, including Silviniaco Conti (15/8), Thistlecrack (11/10) and Might Bite (6/4).

Prior to the 2018 renewal, you had to go back to 2003 for the last winner at double digits so it could pay to stick with the market leaders.

Here at The Winners Enclosure, we study every single runner and look to profile them all in our race guides, which can be accessed in the days up to any high-profile meeting.

The Winners Enclosure always look to highlight every runner in the King George VI Chase and will preview them all in our race guide, which provides fantastic insight before every big meeting.

You will be able to find our NAP selection, chosen by our team of betting tipsters on our daily NAP page.

Dress Code at the King George VI Chase

At Kempton, there is generally no strict dress code to attend the course, but for some enclosures, especially on major race days, there may be some restrictions. As a general rule, smart dress is acceptable anywhere.

It goes without saying that cold weather on Boxing Day is likely, so it is best to come prepared with a couple of layers and a coat! Many people wear tweed to National Hunt meetings and the Winter Festival at Kempton is no different.

Fancy dress is permitted throughout the racecourse, as long as it isn’t offensive.

Betting on the 2019 King George VI Chase

Ante-post betting is widely available for the King George VI Chase months ahead of the race, with Nicky Henderson’s double Champion Chase winner Altior already heading the market for the 2019 running at odds of 7/2. He is without doubt the most talented horse in the field and looks to be needing a step up in trip after scrambling home at Cheltenham over two miles.

Assuming he shows up on the day and can handle the extra distance, the nine-year-old – who is unbeaten over obstacles - has to take all the beating and is likely to shorten on the day.

Also well fancied is Cyrname (6/1), who has demolished decent fields at Ascot in his last two starts but the form is questionable and the Paul Nicholls gelding - who is rated higher than Altior - will need to prove himself in a genuine Grade 1 field.

Other market leaders are Clan Des Obeaux with his trainer Paul Nicholls surely plotting a second consecutive win in the race, while at a bigger price the 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo must make some appeal, despite worries that he may not handle this speed test.

Many bookmakers will be offering free bets and extra places on the race, so keep your eyes peeled and check for any special offers.

King George VI Chase Winners

As mentioned earlier, Kauto Star has to be considered one of the greatest winners of the King George VI Chase, coming out on top no less than five times. The Paul Nicholls-trained horse was partnered with the recently retired Ruby Walsh for all of his victories in the race, beating the likes of Long Run, Exotic Dancer and Master Minded in the process.

Silviniaco Conti was a two-time winner of the race in 2013 and 2014, while looking further back, David Elsworth’s brilliant grey Desert Orchid was an iconic and much-loved winner of the race on no less than four occasions (1986, 88, 89 & 90), following up with the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1989.

The first winner of the race in 1937 was Southern Hero, and he remains the oldest horse to win the Kempton showpiece at the age of 12.

The mighty Arkle – who fittingly has a Grade 1 named after him at the Cheltenham Festival - was a runaway winner of the race in 1965, having previously claimed the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Irish Grand National, Punchestown Gold Cup and the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury (now the Ladbrokes Trophy).

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