2018 King George VI Chase Betting Tips and Trends
King George VI Chase Free Tips
Staged at Kempton Park racecourse on Boxing Day (26th Dec) the King George VI Chase is the highlight contest on the festive racing calendar as ‘once-a-year’ punters try and get their Christmas turkeys paid for by the bookies.
With star names like Desert Orchid, One Man and, more recently, Kauto Star, who won the King George Chase a staggering five times, amongst the household names to land this decent pot then the 3m Grade One race never fails to attract the best longer distance chasers in training, while it’s also seen as a good guide to that season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.
We take a look back at recent winners and highlight the key stats to take into the 2018 renewal – this year run on Wednesday Dec 26th, where the Nicky Henderson-trained Might Bite will be all the rage to defend his crown.
Past King George VI Chase Winners
2017 – Might Bite (6/4 fav)
2016 – Thistlecrack (11/10 fav)
2015 – Cue Card (9/2)
2014 – Silviniaco Conti (15/8 fav)
2013 – Silviniaco Conti (7/2)
2012 – Long Run (15/8 fav)
2011 – Kauto Star (3/1)
2010 – Long Run (9/2)
2009 – Kauto Star (8/13 fav)
2008 – Kauto Star (10/11 fav)
2007 – Kauto Star (4/6 fav)
2006 – Kauto Star (8/13 fav)
2005 – Kicking King (11/8 fav)
2004 – Kicking King (3/1 fav)
2003 – Edredon Bleu (25/1)
2002 – Best Mate (11/8 fav)
Note: The 2005 renewal was staged at Sandown Park
King George VI Chase Trends
15/16 – Had won a Grade One chase before
15/16 – Returned 9/2 or shorter in the betting
15/16 – Had raced within the last 5 weeks
15/16 – Finished in the top three last time out
14/16 – Placed favourites
14/16 – French (10) or Irish bred (4)
14/16 – Had won over 3m or further (fences) before
13/16 – Officially rated 169 or higher
12/16 – Aged 8 or younger
11/16 – Winning favourites
11/16 – Won last time out
10/16 – Had won a race over fences at Kempton before
9/16 – Ran in the Betfair Chase (Haydock) last time out
8/16 – Aged 6 or 7 years-old
7/16 – Won by a previous winner of the race
7/16 – Trained by Paul Nicholls (9 times in all)
5/16 – Ridden by Ruby Walsh
2/16 – Ridden by Barry Geraghty
2/16 – Ridden by Noel Fehily
2/16 – Won by an Irish-based yard (only 3 in the last 32 runnings)
Colin Tizzard and Nicky Henderson have trained 5 of the last 8 winners (2 Tizzard, 3 Henderson)
The average winning SP in the last 16 years is 7/2
Wow, so that’s pretty much it for another year as we head into December and wave goodbye to 2018!
However, before we officially step foot into a New Year, we’ve still got one of the jumping highlights on the calendar to deal with – the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day – a race that seasoned racegoers and the more recreational punters take the bookies on to try and get their Christmas expenses paid for.
It’s also a race that is arguably second to only the Grand National when it comes to attracting ‘once-a-year’ punters to have a bet, and in recent years it’s certainly been a contest the bookies have hated. From 2002 we’ve seen a staggering 11 of the last 16 (69%) favourites take the first prize – with 14 of the last 16 market leaders also placed. Add in that a huge 94% of the last 16 winners returned 9/2 or shorter in the betting, then this suggests the backers don’t often get this race wrong – supported, once again, 12 months ago with the classy Might Bite rewarding favourite backers at 6/4.
So, can we expect more of the same this year?
Despite being run over 3 miles, many feel the King George doesn’t require too much stamina with Kempton being flat track. However, it’s normally run flat-out, so whereas in other staying chase races horses can get a breather – it’s not always the case here. Meaning that staying power is a big plus – this is backed-up with 14 of the last 16 winners having previously won over 3 miles.
In recent years the race has also been dominated by past winners. We’ve seen National Hunt superstars like Desert Orchid, The Fellow, One Man, See More Business, Kicking King, Kauto Star, Long Run and, most-recently, Silviniaco Conti all land the King George at least twice. So, this is surely another big factor the bookies must hate with the ‘once-a-year’ festive punters remembering past heroes and latching onto them.
We can expect more of the same on that score this year too with the 2017 hero – Might Bite – once again targeted at the race. He’s sure to go off favourite, especially when the annual Christmas crowd remember his name! He’ll also be looking to give trainer Nicky Henderson his fourth success in the race since 2010.
What are the key trends to look for?
I’ve already touched on the good record of the favourites in recent times; plus, past winners must always be respected – however, when looking at the main stables to note, then the powerful – Paul Nicholls, Colin Tizzard and Nicky Henderson – camps are the main players. Between the trio they’ve mopped-up ALL of the last 12 renewals and it could be more of the same this year!
What about the Irish Record? We all know that the Irish have had many top staying chasers over the years but it’s slightly surprising that they’ve only won the King George three times in the last 31 years, and the most-recent of those came back in 2005 with Kicking King. Okay they’ve gone very close several times since, most notably in 2015 with the ill-fated Vautour failing by just a head, and Don Cossack falling that same year when holding every chance. Plus, it’s also quite shocking that that leading Irish handler – Willie Mullins – has only won the race once (Florida Pearl, 2001) , while it’s also a prize that has so far eluded the powerful Gordon Elliott team.
Maybe the busy Christmas Period puts the Irish off these days, while the Lexus Chase is only run two days later, with a lot of the big Irish stayers having this race as a preference with a lot less travelling.
Other positive stats to note are that 15 of the last 16 winners have raced within the last 5 weeks, plus had also been placed in the top three in their most recent outing. With 11 of the last 16 winners having actually won last time then it’s certainly worth looking for recently winning horses that have raced within the last 5 weeks.
Are there any good trial races to look for?
Yes, and the main one these days is the Betfair Chase – run at Haydock Park (24th Nov). Nine of the last 16 winners took that race in before heading to the King George – with the 2015 hero – Cue Card – being the most recent example of this. By the time you read this that 3m chase would have been run, so it’s well worth looking back at – oh, not only the winner, but also horses that contested that race.
What are the other main trends to look for?
French and Irish-bred horses have won 14 of the last 16 runnings, while the age of winners is another factor to take into consideration. 12 of the last 16 winners were 8 or younger, plus winning form over fences here at Kempton is another positive – 10 of the last 16 winners had tasted success over the Kempton obstacles in the past.
13 of the last 16 winners were also officially rated 169 or higher, plus 15 of the last 16 were previous Grade One winners – most will fit that bill, but really with the good record of the favourites, past winners and the Henderson team then it’s hard to look beyond last year’s champ – Might Bite.
Yes, at 9 years-old Might Bite would have the main age stat to overcome but horses like Kauto Star (twice), Cue Card, Edredon Bleu and Florida Pearl have all shown it’s possible to win this festive prize in their advancing years. He’s also a fairly lightly-raced chaser for his age (at the time of writing just 16 runs) so this age stat doesn’t really bother me when it comes to last year’s winner.
So, I hope this helps and hopefully once the final runners are out these trends will point you towards another King George winner and help towards the Christmas expenses.
JUICESTORM VERDICT: A cracking renewal of the Christmas Boxing Day card with many chances. The current Gold Cup hero Native River will be popular and has never finished out of the top three from 14 starts over fences. He’s a reliable sort that looks sure to be in the mix. Tea For Two often runs well in this race and of the bigger priced runners looks good each-way value. Bristol De Mai certainly has the class, but the jury is still out if he’s as good away from this beloved Haydock and he flopped in this race last year at 3/1 too. Might Bite is the current champ so can be ignored either but he’s on a recovery mission after running well below-par last time out in the Betfair Chase when last of five. He’s a big player but this looks a much better race than the one he took last year and there are a few chinks in his armour that are starting to appear. Thistlecrack was the 2016 winner of this race and returned from a few issues with a fair third in the Betfair Chase. He’s another that can go well but at the age of 10 will need to defy the key age trend – 12 of the last 16 winners were aged 8 or younger. So, the two that interest me the most are POLITOLOUGE and WAITING PATIENTLY. The first-named will be looking to give trainer Paul Nicholls his tenth win in the race and after returning with a smooth win at Ascot last month and the form of that win has since been franked with the runner-up landing the Peterborough Chase recently. Yes, this is a step up in trip, but he’s been running as if the extra three furlongs are within range and at just 7 years-old he still looks to be improving. Waiting Patiently is a horse with bundles of potential that has one all six of his starts over fences. Connections have treated him with kid-gloves over the last few seasons but he’s a course winner here too and a horse that travels and jumps really well. He’s another that will have to prove himself over the trip as this will be the furthest he’s gone but with most of the key trends on his side then he’s got a lot going for him. He does return from a 312-day break, but don’t worry too much as he’s won first time out for the last two seasons.
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