King George VI Chase 2017 odds
The King George VI Chase is a Grade 1 National Hunt horse for four-year-old and above horses run over a distance of 3 miles (4,828 metres) at Kempton Park Racecourse on Boxing Day. There are nineteen fences to be jumped in the race. It was first run in February 1937 and was named in honour of the new monarch, King George VI.
The King George VI Chase is the second most prestigious chase of the season in the UK with only the Cheltenham Gold Cup surpassing it, the race is run at Kempton on Boxing Day and it is one that main trainers target right from the outset of the winter. It is run over 3 miles and because of its date in December it is often used by the Gold Cup horses as a last prep for the big race in March. However, the King George can also be used as the main target for a season and a win here really does right their name in the record books and propels a horse into the very top rank of chasers.
The race was first run in February 1937 in honour of King George VI and it was run twice before the war with Southern Hero claiming the first ever race, he was a 12 year-old winner and to date he remains the oldest horse ever to have won the King George VI Chase. At the other end of the scale was Manicou who won the race in 1950 at just five years-old, and punters should take note that he remains the only horse younger than six to win the King George.
The list of winners of the King George Chase reads like a who’s who of National Hunt racing but there are two names on the list that stand out more any others and they are the great Desert Orchid and Kauto Star. The grey Desert Orchid was a hero at Kempton as he won the race a brilliant four times in just five years between 1986 and 1990, the David Elsworth horse was taken to the Nations hearts and his win in 1990 when 11 was one of the great performances. Most believed that the achievements of Desert Orchid would never be equalled, that was until Kauto Star arrived on the scene to surpass the achievements of Dessie with four consecutive wins. The Paul Nicholls horse has owned Kempton since 2006 and by winning in 2009 he became the most successful horse in King George Chase history, the style of his wins at Kempton have been second to none with some top class horses often beaten out of sight by Kauto Star.
Tom Scudamore, Thistlecrack’s jockey, enjoyed a spectacular ride to his first victory in the feature event of the Christmas racing programme of 2016, a race his grandfather Michael won as a jockey in 1956 but always eluded his father Peter, who was National Hunt’s champion jockey eight times. Several of Thistlecrack’s jumps drew gasps from the packed grandstand and he effectively secured victory with three fences to go as a burst of speed carried him clear.“Eight championships and I never had a good ride in the King George,’” Scudamore said. “To be associated with a horse like this … I’ve ridden over 1,000 winners, dad rode the best part of 2,000, grandad rode 500, and none of us have ever been associated with a horse like that.