Here are our best King George VI Chase betting tips. It ranks amongst the most important days on the British sporting calendar – Boxing Day. There’s plenty for lovers of football and cricket to get tucked into; meanwhile, followers of the horse racing scene have had this date marked in their calendar since last year’s instalment.
A busier round of meetings we doubt you’ll find as folk across the country flock to the race course of their choice to enjoy an action-packed afternoon. There can be no doubts about the main attraction however. All eyes will be focussing on Kempton Park for a race that divides opinion but brings like-minded people together in mutual appreciation.
This is The 2018 King George VI Chase on 26 December. The biggest names in the game, including some of the most talented horses in National Hunt racing, line-up to lay claim to a stunning £250,000 worth of prize money; over £140,000 of that will be deposited into the bank account of connections to the winner.
Steeped in History
With a past that can be traced all the way back to the first running in 1937, it’s a Grade 1 contest steeped in history. Past winners read like a who’s who of the game; flicking through the record books, you’ll find the likes of Desert Orchid, Best Mate, Long Run and Cue Card.
No horse has a closer affiliation with the King George than the great Kauto Star; he continues as the race’s most successful runner on five titles. Kauto Star claimed his first in 2006 and had no trouble adding to that with invites to the winner’s enclosure in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011. That tally will take some beating and it’ll be interesting to see if it’s ever passed by another.
Sticking with the glory days and Ruby Walsh holds the top jockey prize with five gongs; however, that is down to the success of Kauto Star who he sat on for each of his five victories. The same applies to top trainer Paul Nicholls who got five of nine titles out of Kauto; however, there were other memorable outings along the way. See More Business handed Nicholls his first two in 1997 and 1999; Silviniaco Conti added another couple back-to-back in 2013 and 2014. Now, that’s a haul we do expect to remain untouched for the foreseeable future.
A New Chapter
Heading towards race day and having taken our inspiration from the history books there’s a feeling in the air that it’s the time of a fresh face to go and make a name for themselves. Might Bite came home in front 12 months ago under the ride of Nico de Boinville for Nicky Henderson. The eventual winner scored a length from runner-up Double Shuffle when going off a 6/4 favourite, the second 50/1 with third-place finisher Tea For Two a 20/1 place.
The talented nine-year-old gelding is back for more and traders have had him at the head of their ante-post market for quite some time. Midway through December he was available at a top price 10/3 with Unibet and that has not been without its takers. Is two-in-a-row on the cards? Plenty with a shrewd eye believe so and we certainly wouldn’t be in a rush to put them off.
One thing that worries us about Might Bite, other than backing the shortest price in such a competitive race, is that he has won only once in three since last year’s success. The spare on that list was victory in the Bowl Chase at Aintree back in the spring; he won the Grade 1 race by a stunning seven lengths ahead of Bristol De Mai. Those who had him backed at 4/5 thought it value come the finishing post.
There was no such luck in his other performances. He was beaten into second by Native River in the Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase before ending fifth of five in the G1 Betfair Chase last time out, a race won by the improving Bristol De Mai. Excuses can be made for November’s disappointment; he’ll no doubt improve for the run, but we can’t back him at the odds offered.
One to Spoil the Party
So, if Might Bite can’t join the two-in-a-row club, who deserves our stake money? We pin our hopes on a runner that appears to have been overlooked a little too easily by the traders and that’s Presenting Percy. If he goes, he’s got to be in with a real shout and should have no problems out-running his 10/1 price tag.
The seven-year-old bay has won nine of 17 starts with another three placed efforts included in that list. He arrives at Kempton with form and confidence behind him having won three of his last four, finishing second in the spare. That purple patch started with a win in the Porterstown Handicap Chase around Fairyhouse last December; that was followed with gold at Gowran Park when contesting the Grade 2 Galmoy Hurdle.
Runner-up next time when finding only Our Duke too good at the same venue in the Red Mills Chase, beaten a length; however, he was able to bounce back to winning ways last time out when cementing the RSA at the Cheltenham Festival, seven lengths ahead of Monalee when doing the business as a 5/2 fav. Will the break in action affect his chances? We don’t think so; if you see Presenting Percy in the confirmed final field, we’d say back him as he’ll go with the confidence of experienced trainer Pat Kelly, a judge who wouldn’t risk him otherwise.
Others to Look Out For
Others to look out for, especially if Presenting Percy doesn’t make the final field, is Bristol De Mai at 8/1 with Bet365; Top Notch 25/1 with the same firm and, for those who like bulky odds, why not give a bit of support to Double Shuffle at 33/1.
The latter is better than his odds suggest and he warmed up for this race with a second behind Definitely Red in the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree. Each-way backers betting on the King George will get 1/5 the odds 1-2-3 but keep your eye our for enhancements closer to the day.