Part of the William Hill festival, The King George VIChase is Kempton Park’s flagship racing event. Run over 3 miles, this Grade 1 chase is second to only the Cheltenham Gold cup in stature and is right up there with the most prestigious chasing prizes in the game.
With around a week till the off its time to have a little look into the likely players and delve a bit deeper into the 2014 renewal of this famous event. Odds quoted courtesy of betting exchange, World Bet Exchange.
Silviniaco Conti The Place Start
Ante-post favourite, Silviniaco Conti seems a good a place to start. Paul Nicholls gelding triumphed inthis race last year, and following his recent win in the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park, appears to beback in good form. After perhaps a slightly disappointing first run of the season back in early November (finishing 5th of 7 in a grade 2 at Wetherby) the stable’s leading chaser looked much more like his old self running out the 2 length winner of the Betfair Chase 3 weeks later (first time cheek pieces). An experienced campaigner who has regularly produced the goods at this level (including C&D), last season’s winner ticks all the boxes and looks a worthy favourite (3.70).
Moving on, and as always it wouldn’t be a top of the bill chasing event without a serious Irishcontingent, of which Champagne Fever rates the best in the early betting. A Cheltenham festival winning novice hurdler, who - despite a promising chase debut back in late 2013 - has endured a mixed career thus far over fences. The Willie Mullins trained 7 year old does have some solid form in the book, none more so than when a head second in the Arkle at last season’s festival meeting and looked in fine fettle when returning to action this season with a comfortable grade 2 victory at Clonmel about a month ago. The step up in trip (extra 4 furlongs) could well be what’s needed in his quest for a first Group 1 success as a chaser; however, the fear is it would take a definitive career best performance to come out on top here and that could be too much to ask. Overall he looks slightly short at a general ante-post price of 4.50.
Menorah Solid On Paper
Menorah is another who will no doubt attract plenty of attention in the betting and at an ante-post price of 9.60 could represent potential each way value. Phillip Hobbs’ charge looks solid on paper and is the type whose consistent performances match his solid profile. Despite still looking for a first grade 1 success as a chaser (excluding novice company) Menorah has turned out a string of strong grade 2 successes and several good grade 1 finishes. His win when reappearing this season in the grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby showed his ability to capitalise if the top players aren’t on their game as he beat a below par Silviniaco Conti that day. The worry one might have, is that were the big players to really turn up, Menorah could come up a little way short, as has been the case on previous occasions. Not wise to rule out by any means but is one of those who will need everything to drop just right.
Elsewhere the likes of Al Ferof (9.00) and Dynaste (12.00) look likely to be towards the fore of the market. The former was third in this contest last year and has shown plenty of promise in the past, most notably when winning the Paddy Power Gold Cup back in 2012. Paul Nicholls gelding returned to action in good shape when taking a decent looking grade 2 at Ascot last time out, and is not without his chance here. Dynaste is another who on his best form would certainly be in the reckoning for trainer David Pipe. Pipe’s 8 year old is a horse who on his day is very hard to beat; however, he has at times flattered to deceive, and failing to perform on the big occasion wouldn’t be a first. On top of this it was a below par return to action when only third behind both Silviniaco Conti and Menorah just a few weeks ago. This being said, he is entitled to improve for the run and cannot be discounted on such a basis. Winning form such as last year’s Ryan Air Chase (Cheltenham) and the2012 Feltham Novices at Kempton are perfect illustrations of his quality.
One interesting runner, is the returning Simonsig. Previously billed as the next big thing on the chasing circuit, Nicky Henderson’s 8 year old was almost flawless as a novice hurdler and went on to be just as impressive as a novice chaser (unbeaten) including a win in the Grade 1 Arkle during the 2013 Cheltenham Festival. The gelding was last seen when winning the Arkle back in 2013 and if taking his place and thus making a reappearance here after an absence of 654 days, then it’s a big call and probably not one to take lightly; after all, he showed all the qualities of a class act in both his days as a hurdler and once going over fences, whilst trainer Nicky Henderson has shown time and time again that he is indeed a masterful trainer. At an early market price of 17.00 Simonsig is certainly one of interest.
Last year’s runner up Cue Card is another who might catch the eye of those looking for a decent price. Colin Tizzard's 8 year old is priced around the 11.00 mark in the early market and has some solid form in the book, particularly when winning last season’s Betfair Chase. However, Tizzard's leading horse has – on three occasions since – failed to put in a strong enough performance when up against the big boys and although cannot be completely ruled out, it is feared that victory here might be out of his grasp.
For those fancying a punt in one of the seasons’ best chases, visit WBX.com for comparatively better odds than bookies. New members sign up now to get up to £25 in free bets