The King George is one of the first and most prestigious races of the national hunt season. Raced over three miles, the King George is won by only the strongest and best chasers in the world with past winners including: Silviniaco Conti, Long Run and of course Kauto Star.
Kempton is a very fair track with no dips or hills which makes it a very fast galloping track. This inevitably places more emphasis on speed and prominence than the Cheltenham Gold Cup which requires a horse that can really grind out the infamous hill.
The ground at the last four Kempton King George’s has been: Good to Soft x2, Soft and Heavy. This is very much to be expected for the time of year and the Kempton track can become very hard work. It’s fair to say this year’s King George favourites are far from deep ground loving mud larks. The top five in the King George betting odds currently would all appreciate good to soft ground, even soft ground would likely produce a very fair and thoroughly mouth-watering clash. Vautour is perhaps the biggest beneficiary from ground closer to good than his rivals (to aide his chances of staying), although that’s about as good as it’s going to get for the Mullins inmate at this time of year.
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|Horses||Best Odds||Best Bookmaker||Horses||Best Odds||Best Bookmaker|
|Cue Card||9/2||Smad Place||14/1|
Vautour is perhaps Willie Mullins’ most curious prospect this season. He is one of the classiest racehorses to grace the National Hunt scene, but connections are split over which direction to take him – Cheltenham Gold Cup or something shorter, a Cheltenham Ryanair or even a Champion Chase perhaps? Connections have always maintained that the Kempton King George will be the litmus test. If he can battle out a three mile chase on traditionally boggy ground then his Cheltenham Gold Cup aspirations are further enhanced. However, if he should falter, then that plan will likely be scrapped and he’ll be kept around two mile four furlongs.
To us punters, the Kempton King George betting is a real puzzle. Vautour is priced up on reputation and class alone. He has no form at the staying distance and there are those with serious doubts he’ll be seen to best effect. There are those however, that believe Vautour will simply jump his rivals into submission with his extremely classy racing style. The bookmakers will give you a best price 3/1 about Vautour in the King George betting, but whether that’s enough to tempt me I am unconvinced.
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Gordon Elliott’s 175 rated chaser is undoubtedly one of the strongest chasers around. He’s won 14 of his 24 races, placing in 18 out of the 24 starts all in. He was very well supported for this year’s Cheltenham Ryanair but was pretty disappointing, finishing a well held third. It is arguable though, that Don Cossack performs to a higher standard over further. He was beginning to rally towards the end of the race and took third which certainly backs up that theory. It is interesting that he then went onto win the Melling Chase at Aintree over a furlong shorter, but it’s possible that was a very weak grade one, with the winning margin a whopping 26 lengths.
For all his victories, Don Cossack does have his critics, mainly those who believe he is only at his best when he can dominate and bully small field races. There’s certainly fact to support this argument. In the last ten starts Don Cossack has faced total field sizes of – 4-5-8-10-14-4-6-3-4-5. He’s won all of them, bar two races with field sizes of 14 and 5 respectively.
Don Cossack has won two races already this season in Ireland and confirmed himself in excellent order. He was impressive in both, if not beating much and he should be absolutely prime for the King George. He’s rightly strong in the King George betting, a best price 7/2, and that could be very fair given there are doubts about other runners. He’s classy, a strong stayer, versatile ground wise and in top form with fitness confirmed which makes 7/2 a really fair price in the King George betting markets.
Colin Tizzard’s stable star has been an absolute revelation this season. He was well supported on his comeback run in the Charlie Hall grade two chase and won with consummate ease. Eyebrows were raised, could Cue Card be back to his best? The answer came in phenomenal style. Cue Card absolutely decimated Silviniaco Conti, one of the best staying chasers in the country in the Betfair Chase at Haydock. He tracked him throughout the race before gliding past him, winning by 7 lengths eased down on the bridle. A wind operation has been largely touted for his incredible improvement and given he looks in incredible shape, the King George looks well within his grasp.
A general 25/1 was available on Cue Card at the start of this season but now he is just 5/1 in the King George betting. There’s perhaps some that still can’t quite believe his improvement this season and it will take another big step forward to win a King George, but given he’s come second in the race before, he is confirmed to handle the track and likely conditions. It’s impossible to envisage any reversal with Silviniaco Conti on the form and that makes him an incredibly strong contender.
Many racing enthusiasts have fallen in love with the Bradstock trained Coneygree. He slipped a disc before the Newbury Hennessy and was subsequently ruled out following a poor workout session. The King George odds will offer you 6/1 he wins the race, but that could be risky given he’s far from certain to turn up. Remember if you back a horse in an ante post market and it doesn’t run you don’t get your money back. He’s got a good chance if he makes it there, but given connections didn’t enter him due to a clerical ‘error’ they’re going to have to pay a large £10,000 fee and that’s going to require some confidence.
Silviniaco Conti was forgiven for his second on his seasonal return given he almost always requires the run. However, there were absolutely no excuses for his Betfair Chase performance and it is impossible to envisage a reverse in form with Cue Card. Given Silviniaco’s main target this season is the Grand National, he may still not be fully tuned up and although he has another month of preparation and work, it takes a large leap of faith to side with him in the King George betting.
There’s one horse everyone’s talking about right now in the King George betting markets and that’s Vautour. Will he be at his best over three miles? It’s hard to have a definite opinion. He’s a classy horse and connections know what they’re doing, but this is a whole new ball game for Vautour. He’s effectively back at school in this racing sphere. At the prices, he’s very unattractive and the one to take against him has to be Don Cossack.
He’s not without his own questions to answer, granted. However, given he looks potentially even sharper and slicker at his fences than he did last season, there could be a lot to get excited about. This is his real trip and it’s much more likely we’ll see Don Cossack at his best over the three mile trip. He’s got absolutely bags of stamina but also has that blend of speed that’s required for Kempton. Gordon Elliott is an excellent trainer and 7/2 is an extremely fair price about this classy 175-rated chaser.
|Horses||Best Odds||Best Bookmaker||Horses||Best Odds||Best Bookmaker|
|My Tent Or Yours||5/1||Irving||20/1|
|The New One||6/1||All Yours||25/1|
Fat and unfit would be the two terms to best explain Faugheen’s last run. He looked all set to pounce on Nichols Canyon in the Morgiana before coming up short having looked a tad outpaced on the turn into the home straight. He came right back at his stablemate, just losing out in the end. Nichols Canyon looked far sharper and fitter that day (no surprise given he is an ex-flat horse) and duly took advantage of the harder to get fit Faugheen. He will be much stronger and fitter in this race and 8/13 could be very big come the day providing there’s nothing amiss.
My Tent Or Yours
Nicky Henderson’s hurdler finished an excellent second in the Champion Hurdle behind Jezki before being racked with injury in the 2014/5 season. He will have to return with all the zest and enthusiasm he showed two seasons ago to be winning this race on his seasonal return but he cannot be ruled out on old form.
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The New One
The New One has very much fallen out of fashion in recent times. Having been badly hampered before running on very strongly to grab third in the 2014 Champion Hurdle, many suggested he could come back to claim vengeance in 2015. However, he put in a very poor showing having had a less than ideal prep race and has since been shunned by most punters. He retains bags of ability, but the likeliness of improving is rapidly declining and given he struggles to put in a clear round of jumping, he wouldn’t be the strongest hope in opposing Faugheen.
This race undoubtedly revolves Faugheen. Very few could have imagined the opportunity to back Willie Mullins’ superstar at 8/13 in a race outside of Cheltenham. He looked fat and unfit on his reappearance in the Morgiana and it’s argued this was the main reason for his awkward head carriage. He will strip much, much fitter for this and given Ruby Walsh is likely to take the lead and fire him into every hurdle, it’s going to take a very good effort to beat him. The New One and My Tent Or Yours battled this out two years ago with the latter just coming out on top. They’re likely to be battling out the places with a chance taken on My Tent Or Yours to grab second spot. He’s been off the track for well over a year now and his fitness is taken on trust. However, he had the beating of The New One both here and at Cheltenham and finishing second in a Champion Hurdle is no mean feat. He’s chosen for forecast purposes.
As the King George VI Chase gets closer, we'll bring you the very best risk free bets for all the great post-Christmas action at Kempton Park. Until then make sure to check out all the best horse racing free bets throughout the year here.
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