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We’ve got a Boxing Day treat to look forward to as nine quality runners are set to go to post in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park.
Frodon is back to defend his title but faces competition from two-time winner and stablemate Clan Des Obeaux while Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Minella Indo spearheads the Irish challenge.
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Big things are expected from Marsh Novices’ Chase champ Chantry House and the return to form of Lostintranslation adds extra spice to the mix for punters and racegoers.
We’ve run the rule over the field of nine to give you a steer on what promises to be a hot renewal of the King George VI Chase.
Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: B. J. Cooper Age: 7 Weight: 11st 10lbs
High-class chaser who took his form up another notch with easy win in handicap company at Punchestown in April. Looked a threat when unseating 3 out in John Durkan on reappearance there.
Trainer: Nicky Henderson Jockey: Nico de Boinville Age: 7 Weight: 11st 10lbs
Ended excellent novice chase campaign with Grade 1 successes at Cheltenham and Aintree. Warmed up for this with easy win in a match at Sandown. This his toughest task but there could be more to come.
Clan Des Obeaux
Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Harry Cobden Age: 9 Weight: 11st 10lbs
Impressive winner of this in 2018 and 2019. Below-form third to Frodon last year but back to form with a bang in cheekpieces in spring, winning Grade 1s at Aintree and Punchestown. Bold bid likely.
Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Bryony Frost Age: 9 Weight: 11st 10lbs
Top-class chaser who made all in this last year. Had Minella Indo behind when landing another Grade 1 win on Down Royal reappearance. Superb jumper who is unlikely to give up crown without a fight.
Trainer: Colin Tizzard Jockey: Brendan Powell Age: 9 Weight: 11st 10lbs
Pulled up in the last 2 runnings of this but got his career back on track after wind surgery with 21f Ascot Grade 2 win in November. This is a whole lot tougher, though.
Trainer: Henry de Bromhead Jockey: Rachael Blackmore Age: 8 Weight: 11st 10lbs
Saw off stablemate A Plus Tard to win Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. Shaped as if needing run when 5 lengths third to Frodon on Down Royal return. Cheekpieces added. The one to beat on Gold Cup form.
Trainer: Nicky Henderson Jockey: Sean Bowen Age: 7 Weight: 11st 10lbs
Dual Grade 2 chase winner who ended last season with a close second to Frodon in Sandown Grade 2 in April. Likely to need a big career best to go close on this reappearance, though.
Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Gavin Sheehan Age: 8 Weight: 11st 10lbs
Capable of mixing it at Grade 1 level at best for Harry Whittington, including fourth to Frodon in this last year. Had wind surgery (also tongue tied first time) ahead of first run for Paul Nicholls.
Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: D. E. Mullins Age: 8 Weight: 11st 10lbs
High-class chaser. 18/1, creditable 8 lengths fifth of 10 to Allaho in John Durkan at Punchestown on reappearance but his record suggests he’s not quite up to this level.
TIMEFORM VERDICT: Gold Cup hero MINELLA INDO, who sports cheekpieces for the first time, left the firm impression he needed the run when behind Frodon on his Down Royal reappearance and can bounce back to his Gold Cup form and continue the Henry de Bromhead domination of the top jumps prizes in Britain. Clan des Obeaux, who is bidding for a third win in this, can give him most to do ahead of Frodon.
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