2019 King George VI Chase tips – Tizzard’s star the one to beat in Christmas showpiece
Jon Vine takes an extensive look through the betting for the 2019 King George VI Chase and provides readers with his best bets for Kempton on Thursday 26th December.
While most of the British public will spend Boxing Day nursing hangovers, lounging on the sofa and picking at yesterday’s turkey, a capacity crowd will flock to Kempton Park to take in another stunning renewal of the King George VI Chase. This historic three-mile steeplechase has been won by many of National Hunt racing’s greatest names, with the likes of Arkle, Desert Orchid, One Man and Kauto Star shining brightly on the famous trophy.
The 2019 edition of the King George may feature just seven runners, but it still promises to be one of the most exciting in recent memory! I’ve taken a closer look at each of the confirmed entrants and come up with my best bet!
2019 King George VI Preview
The Fight For Favouritism
Paul Nicholls lifted the famous trophy for a record tenth time 12 months ago and the betting suggests Cyrname (13/8 Ladbrokes) is in pole position to hand the director of Ditcheat an eleventh King George on Boxing Day. Nicholls’ imposing gelding destroyed his rivals to claim a first Grade One here at Ascot in February, cantering to a 17-length victory in the Ascot Chase and the National Hunt racing world was abuzz with excitement last month, as Cyrname and Altior locked horns for the first time in the Christy 1965 Chase.
Knowing there were stamina questions against his unbeaten foe, Harry Cobden made the wise decision to make the running. Barring one significant mistake at the half-way stage, Cyrname outjumped his rival throughout. Altior couldn’t lay a glove on the leader, as Cyrname crossed the line a comfortable winner, establishing his position at the head of the King George betting.
Sitting closest to Nicholls’ favourite is Lostintranslation (7/4 Ladbrokes), who propelled himself to the head of the ante-post market for the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup at Haydock. Colin Tizzards’ Mildmay winner had Haydock specialist and two-time winner, Bristol De Mai to overcome in the Betfair Chase, but Robbie Power didn’t seem to bothered about the strength of his front-running rival, holding Lostintranslation up out the back for much of the race.
Turning for home, Power made his move and, upon jumping the second-last, Lostintranslation had opened up a narrow advantage. Bristol De Mai came away from the last quicker and it seemed a third-straight victory was on the cards, only for Lostintranslation to get back up on the run to the line and secure the first leg of chasing’s Triple Crown.
Tizzard will now target the £1m bonus that comes with the Triple Crown, something he almost pulled off with Cue Card four years ago. There’s currently very little separating Cyrname and Lostintranslation in the current ante-post betting and I’m anticipating the battle for favouritism will go right to the wire.
The Return Of The King
With all eyes on Might Bite, Waiting Patiently and Native River at the head of the market, there was a sense of surprise last year when Clan Des Obeaux (7/2 Ladbrokes) claimed the King George crown. Paul Nicholls’ seven-year-old travelled beautifully throughout the race, powering into contention on the run to the last before holding Thistlecrack at bay to secure a comfortable victory.
Results tailed off a little during the spring, with Clan Des Obeaux finishing fifth in the Gold Cup and a nine-length runner-up behind Kemoby at Aintree. Following a fine runner-up finish at Down Royal on his reappearance, Nicholls was confident his charge would come on leaps and bounds for the run and a second King George triumph is certainly not out of reach.
Red Hot Raider
Footpad (10/1 Ladbrokes) conquered all during his season in novice company, but found life much more difficult last season. A fall on his reappearance was followed by a mugging by Simply Ned at Leopardstown. Willie Mullins then decided to chuck Footpad into the Ryanair at Cheltenham, where the former Arkle winner was beaten out of sight. Mullins’ seven-year-old looked a rejuvenated figure when winning a Listed contest at Thurles on his reappearance, and there’s no doubting Footpad has the talent to challenge in a race of this calibre.
Thistlecrack (20/1 Ladbrokes) may turn 12 in 2020, but proved by pushing Paisley Park all the way to the post at Newbury last week that he still retains plenty of ability. The 2016 King George winner produced another outstanding display to place second behind Clan Des Obeaux 12 months ago and Colin Tizzard’s charge certainly cannot be ruled out.
La Bague Au Roi (40/1 Ladbrokes) registered a career-best display here last Christmas, outstaying Topofthegame and Santini to win the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase. Warren Greatrex’s mare put in a lacklustre performance on her reappearance in the Charlie Hall Chase, where the ground was clearly too soft for her to cope with. I can’t imagine the going at Kempton will be good on Boxing Day, so it’s likely Greatrex will swerve this red-hot renewal of the King George.
Aso (66/1 Ladbrokes) is undoubtedly a horse of the highest calibre and Venetia Williams’ stable could hardly be in better form. However, the Ryanair runner-up looks to have his work cut out. Aso has been heavily beaten on both of his starts this term, finishing a ten-length third in the Charlie Hall before a comprehensive loss in the Peterborough Chase. This is a big step up in class compared to those races and results suggest Aso is much more comfortable on galloping, left-handed tracks. He finished last of six behind Cyrname on his only previous start at Ascot.
The Best Bets
If there were three paid places available, then I’d be really tempted to back Footpad at an each-way price. Three miles around Kempton looks like it would really suit the former Arkle winner and, despite his struggles last term, he remains a chaser of the highest calibre and Footpad could out-run his current 12/1 odds. Yet, with just seven runners, I’ll side with the horse I feel is the most likely winner, that being LOSTINTRANSLATION.
Whereas Haydock is Bristol De Mai’s home track, Kempton is like Wembley Stadium for Cyrname. Colin Tizzards’ Gold Cup favourite was classy enough to not only beat Bristol De Mai, but outstay the Haydock king, and I think he will do the same to Cyrname, who’s unproven over three miles.
Clan Des Obeaux sits on an appealing price and I wouldn’t put anyone off backing the champion to retain his crown. I just feel Lostintranslation is the best staying chaser in the sport at the moment. His jumping is electric, he stays all day, he’s proven on all kinds of track and he’s tactically versatile. At 7/4, he’s my top tip.