Christmas festivities at Kempton Park reach their zenith on Boxing Day when horses compete in the King George VI Chase. The 2023 edition promises to be a cracker as well.
The King George VI Chase is considered the second most prestigious chase in England, behind the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Its history dates back to 1937 when it was first run in honour of the newly crowned King George VI. It became a regular Boxing Day event from 1947 onwards and has gone on to become the second most prestigious chase event in England after, of course, the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
bet365 News, in collaboration with Irishracing.com, programmed a ‘supercomputer’ to predict the winner of the 2023 edition of the King George VI Chase. The supercomputer considered various relevant factors and analysed the results of all King George VI chases to have taken place, to assign a winning probability to the 2023 field.
The Science Behind The Supercomputer
We collected comprehensive data via Irishracing.com on the past winners and contenders of the King George VI Chase. This was done for all the races that have taken place so far.
The next step was to determine the importance of the horses’ characteristics in terms of what is advantageous for the race in question. This was done by consulting domain experts, and the characteristics were further classified as ‘numerical’ and ‘categorical’ features.
These features are:
- Horse age
- Country of origin (for the horse)
- Betting position
- Trainer and trainer country
- Sire and Sire country of origin
- Dam and Dam country of origin
- Dam sire
- Did the horse run over 24 furlongs?
- Distance run over 24 furlongs
In consultation with the domain experts, the features were assigned different weight and ages. In the case of missing values for any of these, we used the median from historical data to represent the values.
Categorical features were encoded using LabelEncoder for modelling purposes. Numerical features were scaled using StandardScaler to ensure comparable scales
Using the algorithm mentioned above, we extracted the characteristics of all winning horses at the King George VI Chase, to determine the characteristics of a ‘typical winning horse’ at the race.
Once they were extracted, we used the median values as a representation of the characteristics of a typical winner.
From our analysis, these are the characteristics of a winning horse at the event:
|Village Star (FR)
|Kauto Relka (FR)
|Port Etienne (FR)
|Ran over 24 furlongs
|Distance run over 24 furlongs
|Country of origin (Trainer)
|Country of origin (Horse)
|Country of origin (Sire)
|Country of origin (Dam)
Assigning Similarity Scores
With comprehensive numerical information on the characteristics of a winning horse ready, the next step was to find which horses from the competing field in 2023 come closest to a typical winner.
We extracted the relevant data for all horses competing in the 2023 King George VI Chase and then assigned similarity scores. The closer the similarity score to 1, the higher the winning probability of the particular horse.
And The Predicted Winner Is…
The supercomputer’s simulations favour defending champions Bravesmangame, with the French horse having a similarity score of 0.66. Closely following Bravesmangame is The Real Whacker, which has a similarity score of 0.65. Both have been given a winning chance of 95 per cent.
Aged 8, Bravesmangame has a betting position of 2 and has run well over the 3m past 24 furlongs. That, coupled with a previous win at the course, has given it a strong similarity to past winners and thus, it is the supercomputer’s pick.
Allaho, the bookmakers’ favourite, is fifth-favourite in the supercomputer’s assessment. Its higher age (9) than that of a typical winner, when compared to other horses in the field, contributed in reducing the similarity score.
It is important to note that we capped the maximum winning chance to 95 per cent so as to account for a level of uncertainty. Similarly, the minimum threshold was put to five percent.
- Data on past winners was collected via Irishracing.com and then analysed to determine the characteristics of a typical winning horse
- That data for the characteristics of a typical winning horse was then compared to the characteristics of the provisional field competing in 2023
- We assigned similarity scores to the field competing in 2023 - the higher the similarity score, the higher the chance of winning
- In case of missing data, median values from historical data were used for representation
The list of horses in this article is a provisional one. The final list is released two days before the day of the race (in this case, the 26th of December). The supercomputer’s predictions will be updated to reflect the final field on the 24th of December.