Boxing Day Kempton Preview – Ladbrokes King George VI Chase
Analysis of the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase
Kempton hosts a trio of top-class Grade 1 contests this Boxing Day, including the 2021 running of the Ladbrokes King George Vi Chase. Our tipsters have provided their thoughts on each individual runner as well as a tip for the race included.
Asterion Forlonge 11/2
Irish trainer Willie Mullins has only tasted success in this Grade 1 showpiece once before and that was 20 years ago with Florida Pearl. He will be hopeful of ASTERION FORLONGE can go close in this seasons renewal after powering clear on his penultimate start at Punchestown to land a Novice Handicap Chase by 14l.
The seven-year-old has posted respectable efforts including when finishing third behind Chantry House in the Grade 1 Marsh Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival earlier this season before finding the frame once again in Grade 1 company at Fairyhouse in April.
However, Asterion Forlonge has been let down by his jumping technique since racing over the larger obstacles and has failed to complete on three of his eight starts over fences.
Chantry House 11/2
Seven-year-old CHANTRY HOUSE has won five of his six starts since going chasing and his only blemish came when finishing third behind stablemate Fusil Raffles on the second start over the larger obstacles in December 2020.
Nicky Henderson’s charge remains unbeaten this campaign after sauntering to success at Wetherby in a Novice Chase he powered up the famous Cheltenham hill to gain revenge on Fusil Raffles to take the Marsh Novices’ Chase at the Festival under Nico de Boinville. He then produced a dazzling performance to follow up at Aintree in the Grade 1 Mildmay Novices’ Chase and could not have been any more impressive in defeating Shan Blue and Fiddlerontheroof.
Chantry House certainly didn’t have to be at his best to keep up the winning thread at Sandown last time against The Big Breakaway but the seven-year-old will be spot on for Boxing Day’s big assignment and is a live contender to give Nicky Henderson a fourth success in the race.
Clan Des Obeaux 11/4
CLAN DES OBEAUX was a wide-margin winner of the 2019 renewal and although no match for stablemate Frodon in last years contest, Paul Nicholls’ charge returned to winning ways after going agonisingly close in the Grade 2 Denman Chase at Newbury back in February.
The nine-year-old impressively landed the Betway Bowl Chase at Aintree by 26l and followed up willingly in the Punchestown Gold Cup to see off the late challenge of dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo.
This race will have been the target all season for Clan Des Obeaux and connections will be confident that he can land his third King George.
This feature race has been synonymous with trainer Paul Nicholls in the past who has won the event a staggering twelve times including with FRODON who landed last year’s renewal under regular rider Byrony Frost.
The nine-year-old was friendless in the betting for last year’s contest but once again showed his gritty and determined attitude to make all and see off the late challenge from Waiting Patiently.
Although well beaten when set with a tough task in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March this season, Frodon returned to the winner’s enclosure with a game win in Grade 2 company at Sandown before tasting Grade 1 Irish success in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal in October when getting the better of Galvin and Minella Indo.
Frodon is certainly in a rich vein of form at present and he will once again try and fend off all challengers in this season’s contest. However, this year appears to be a more competitive field than he faced 12 months ago and perhaps he will come up short.
Colin Tizzard’s nine-year-old LOSTINTRANSLATION was sent off just 15/8 in this contest two years ago but weakened rapidly and was pulled up. It was a similar outcome in last years renewal as again Lostintranslation was tailed off after never travelling in the hands of Robbie Power.
Connections will have been delighted to see him return after another wind operation to land the Grade 2 Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase at Ascot after a 246-day absence and that return to winning ways will have been a much-needed confidence booster for the son of Flemensfirth.
It will be interesting to see how he fares in the betting for this season’s contest but there is still an obvious concern that we may have already seen the best of Lostintranslation and still comes with risks attached.
Minella Indo 3/1
This Grade 1 contest has gone the way of British trained runners since 2005 but not many trainers will have had a season to remember in the way Irish trainer Henry De Bromhead has had and 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner MINELLA INDO will be fancied by many to provide the Irish trainer with another coveted prize.
The eight-year-old was seriously impressive when winning a Grade 3 event at Wexford last year before following up in Grade 2 company at Navan in November 2020. Henry De Bromhead’s charge was then sent off favourite for the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown in February this year but a bad mistake two from home put pay to his chance.
Minella Indo returned to action in October from a seven-month layoff and despite being beaten by Frodon on that occasion at Down Royal, he will have come on plenty for that reappearing effort and will be the leading hope for Ireland this year.
Mister Fisher 40/1
MISTER FISHER will be returning from a 246-day break and may need the return to action after having an operation for a heart murmur. However, he has hinted before in his races that he will be suited by racing over three miles and looked to have Frodon’s measure when last seen at Sandown over an extended 2m6f back in April.
Nicky Henderson’s seven-year-old could well outrun his odds now stepping up to 3miles for just the second time in his career but his recent wellbeing has to be taken on trust.
Saint Calvados 16/1
The eight-year-old SAINT CALVADOS has struggled in most starts since moving up from 2mile trips but has shown on more than one occasion that he can compete over further when going down by the narrowest of margins in January to Oldgrangewood in the 2020 Paddy Power Handicap Chase at Cheltenham before giving Min a scare in the Ryanair Chase at the Festival that same season over an extended 2m4f.
Saint Calvados was a creditable fourth despite racing freely in last years King George on penultimate start for trainer Harry Whittington. The eight-year-old has subsequently joined Paul Nicholls and it would be a huge training performance if he can get the eight-year-old back to winning ways off a nine-month absence.
Tornado Flyer 25/1
Willie Mullins is also represented by TORNADO FLYER who has only won two starts over fences and has found classier rivals too good on several occasions including in the Leopardstown Savills Chase in December 2020 when a well-beaten fifth, and a distant third in this seasons Ryanair Chase behind impressive stablemate Allaho.
The eight-year-old is yet to taste success at Grade 1 level and would be a surprise winner back up to 3miles for just the second time in his career.
Big Race Verdict
A mouthwatering clash in-store on Boxing Day and Clan Des Obeaux will be looking to return where he left off when landing back to back Grade 1’s in April this year. There is a chance however that he may need the comeback run and at the prices, he’s worth taking on. Of the Irish raiders, Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Minella Indo will have to put behind a below-par run on seasonal reappearance when behind Frodon, who will find this year’s renewal tough to follow up in. CHANTRY HOUSE will be seeking a fifth straight win and is clearly improving all the time for trainer Nicky Henderson. The seven-year-old will have to take on some established performers on Boxing Day but he is quick over his fences and his jumping will hold him in good stead around Kempton.