What a cracking renewal of the King George VI Chase, with Clan Des Obeaux trying to do what others like Kauto Star, Desert Orchid and See More Business have done and regain the prize after relinquishing it.
Clan Des Obeaux is coming to the race fresh, as he bypassed Haydock this season and there is no doubt that he will be ready to go for the Paul Nicholls team. Stablemate and the determined 2020 winner Frodon will try and dictate as ever, yet the protagonists will be in sharper form this year. Lostintranslation has struggled in this race previously for Colin Tizzard and this is a deeper renewal. For Unibet Ambassador Nicky Henderson Chantry House (NAP) looks very exciting and whilst he doesn’t have the experience of the main rivals, he is definitely a good jumper.
In the last ten years only Nicky Henderson, Colin Tizzard and Paul Nicholls have trained the winners, yet Minella Indo, the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, is obviously a strong challenger with Rachael Blackmore in the plate. The question is whether Minella Indo is so effective away from Cheltenham and will Kempton work for him? Another Irish challenger Asterion Forlonge has to show he can really get three miles. This is a fascinating renewal, and I can’t wait.
Have a lovely Christmas.
Enjoy whether at a racecourse or #athome
1.20 Kempton – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (2m 4f)
Bothwell Bridge for Nicky Henderson showed at Sandown’s Tingle Creek meeting on chasing debut that he is a really athletic chaser. He gave weight to the second Mahler’s Promise, who had looked a good thing that day and beat him going away. He has gone up five pounds for that victory and that won’t stop him here with the forecast rain a benefit. Bothwell Bridge looks highly progressive.
1.55 Kempton – Kauto Star Novices’ Chase Grade 1 (3m)
Ahoy Senor for the inform Lucinda Russell team beat Bravemansgame fair and square in the Sefton Hurdle at the Grand National meeting when leading from start to finish, bringing stamina to the fore. He showed at Newbury this was no fluke when cruising to victory, beating Mr Incredible comfortably last month. Admittedly Ahoy Senor unseated two out in the Colin Parker at Carlisle on his penultimate start and his main rival Bravemansgame might be the smoother jumper right now, yet Ahoy Senor looks a tremendous talent and you can see him leading from start to finish in the Kauto Star. He is an exciting prospect.
2.10 Wetherby – Rowland Merrick Handicap Chase (3m)
Cloudy Glen won the big Handicap at Newbury in November on his first start since April, beating the classy Fiddlerontheroof in tremendous style, with these two well clear of the third. He has gone up 10lbs for that success and he can strike again here, as runners carrying big weights have a good recent record. It was worth remembering that Cloudy Glen was second in the Kim Muir at The Festival this year.
2.30 Kempton – Christmas Hurdle Grade 1 (2m)
Soaring Glory didn’t benefit from the slowly run race at Newbury last time out when the talented Onemorefortheroad was allowed to dictate in a four-runner field. With Not So Sleepy in the line-up a strong and true gallop look assured, and this will allow Soaring Glory to come from off the pace as he likes to do.
Soaring Glory won the big handicap hurdle at Newbury earlier in the year, then finished fourth to Appreciate It in the Supreme, ahead of winning in impressive style at Ascot on seasonal debut. He is a talented individual and if tactics go his way he can cause an upset here.
3.05 Kempton – King George V1 Chase Grade 1 (3m)
Chantry House (NAP) can give Nicky Henderson his first victory in the King George VI Chase since Might Bite in 2017. Chantry House won the Grade 1 Marsh Novices’ Chase at The Festival in good style and then went on to win over this trip at Aintree in the Mildmay Grade 1 when Espoir De Romay fell late on with Chantry House once again jumping well. This season Chantry House has had one start at Sandown against a sole rival The Big Breakaway, when jumping and running with great enthusiasm. Chantry House has won five of his six chase starts and has a good chance of securing another Grade 1 victory, with trip, ground and course all looking to suit this top class and exciting chaser.
Saint Calvados finished fourth in the 2020 King George when travelling prominently throughout until fading after the last. In the 2020 Ryanair Saint Calvados just failed to peg back Min, with A Plus Tard in third and Frodon in fourth, and this classy eight-year-old could see out the trip out better this time. He goes well fresh and is having first start for Paul Nicholls.