Hello from Kempton Park, where a raucous post-Christmas crowd gathers for one of the most traditional afternoons on the track on the racing calendar.
A select field of six, all but one of whom will be posted with very plausible luck, will compete in the King George VI Chase at 2:30 p.m., with the winner joining a list that includes many – if not most – of the world’s biggest names. show jumping racing for the past 60 years.
This was the scene from one of Arkle’s scenes. most memorable victories in 1965, and also his last race a year later (no film of which is known, the BBC not having sent its cameras that year). It’s the race that has turned Desert Orchid became a household name in the mid-1980s, and was subsequently won by exceptional chasers including Best Mate, One Man and, of course, the incomparable Kauto Star, who scored five successes in six years between 2006 and 2011 .
The dominant trainer in this race over the last quarter of a century has been Paul Nicholls, who won his first King George with See More Business in 1997 and has stringed together subsequent victories at the rate of roughly one in two years. where he now has an astonishing 13 wins in total. See More Business, Kauto Star, Silviniaco Conti and Clan Des Obeaux, the first four of its six individual winners, have all recorded at least one additional victory, and the last two – Frodon (2020) and Bravemansgame (2022) – are both on the ground for today’s renewal.
Frodo and Bryony Frost, who missed out on a rousing reception by winning 25-1 behind closed doors three years ago, are 50-1 outsiders going into today’s race, but Bravemansgame vies for favoritism with Allaho of Willie Mullins, with just a quarter of a point between the two horses currently at 9-4 and 2-1 respectively.
Add to that the mercurial Shishkin, who has been backed at around 7-2 as punters count on him to decide to jump with the pack, plus two live shots each way in The Real Whacker and Hewick, and a memorable run is in perspective. .
Best jumper in training, Constitution Hill, will strut his stuff in the Christmas Hurdle at 1.55, while three outstanding novice chase prospects clash in the Grade One Kauto Star Novice Chase at 1.20.
As always, you can follow all the action here on the blog as one of the most anticipated cards of the year, and the action starts at 12:45 p.m.