The King George VI Chase is a top quality Grade 1 NH race in the United Kingdom for horses aged four years old and above. It is run over a distance of 3 miles at Kempton Park Racecourse every year on Boxing Day In total there are eighteen fences to be jumped. It was first run in February1937 and was named in honour of the new, King George VI.
For many reasons the race did not earn the prestige in the early years, with the first two races only attracting four entrants each time. Due to the war, the race was not run again until 1947, but this time Kempton Park management changed the date to Boxing Day and the change had an almost immediate impact. In 1948 it was won by none other than Cottage Rake who had won the Cheltenham Gold Cup the year before; it was his victory that created the rich prestige in which the race is now held. Additionally the NH realised that a second top quality Chase to rival the Cheltenham Gold Cup was not a bad idea and for the astute trainers the race is an ideal trial race for the Gold Cup itself.
These days the King George VI Chase is one of the sporting highlights of the year, and probably has a bigger TV audience then the Gold Cup due to it being run on Boxing Day. It has seen some spectacular races and has borne several magnificent champions.
Probably the most famous of all these was Desert Orchid who won the race four times and was second once between; 1986-1990. He is one of several who have won the race more than once. Others include, Captain Christy, Wayward Lad, The Fellow, One Man, See More Business, Kicking King and more recently, this years favourite Kauto Star.
Trained by Paul Nicholls, Kauto Star is the King George VI Chase Betting favourite with the online bookmakers and sponsors of the race Stan James are going best price 5/4 that he will win and complete the treble having won it in 2006 and 2007. Kauto Star has now lost three of his last four races and his invincibility is beginning to wane having fallen in the Betfair Chase at the last fence on his last run. The belief is that Kempton Park over 3 miles is his ideal distance and he is the choice of the punters to make it three on the bounce. The interesting horse in the race is Imperial Commander who was a really good winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup and he was fully expected to double up in the Boylesports Gold Cup but the race was cancelled. Voy Por Ustedes has the ability to win the race and could be the King George VI Chase Tips but there is a doubt about his stamina.
There is massive interest in this race with it being the highlight of the Christmas programme, it is just a pity that there is no Irish horse as this always adds a bit of spice to the race. There will be Bookmakers Free Bets on offer from all the major firms for the race and these range from as much as £200 to £25 depending on the bookie you open an account with.
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