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.