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The King George VI Chase

Boxing Day in the UK is traditionally seen as one of the biggest sporting days of the entire calendar, and a day that fans of many different sports look forward to just as much as they look forward to Christmas the day before. For some this day is Christmas for adults, and one of the biggest fixtures of the day is the King George VI race, held at Kempton Park. This is the centrepiece of a strong two-day meeting at the course, held on a day when racing takes place up and down the UK. However, regardless of the quantity on offer, the quality of this race sets it apart from anything else taking place on this day.

This race could easily be regarded by jumps fans as the most fascinating race of the season. It takes place right in the heart of the calendar, horses have all had a prep run ahead of this, and no one can claim they are tired after a long hard season. The race will also be run in proper winter ground, something you can't guarantee if we have a dry spell at Cheltenham

The reason this race is so fasinating is because of the different contenders that come together for it. Being a flat track and a very sharp three miles, this race attracts those stepping up to three miles while also having Gold Cup horses involved, we rarely see these two types of horse take each other on elsewhere. As a punter looking at the race you have to ask yourself if you want to be with the speed of those who excel at two and a half miles or whether you want to go with the stayers who should be coming to the fore towards the end of this race. Either way, the fact that punters have this choice in front of them and we get to witness the different types of horses going head to head is fascinating for those watching.

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What Happened in the 2018 King George VI Chase?

The 2018 King George VI Chase was a thriller, with the Paul Nicholls trained Clan Des Obeaux coming out on top, with the 2016 winner Thistlecrack back in second place. These two were well clear of the remainder, and fought out a great battle up the Kempton straight, with Clan Des Obeaux pulling out after the final fence to take over and come home victorious. 

It was a win for the speedsters last season, with both Clan Des Obeaux and Thistlecrack being at their best over this trip and a little shorter. They went on to run in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham but neither had the staying power to trouble the stronger stayers in the race. The win for Clan Des Obeaux further enhanced the record of Paul Nicholls in the race, he has a fantastic strike rate in it and clearly knows what it takes to win a race like this. 

Harry Cobden was the jockey on board in 2018, but it is not certain that he will ride the horse again in the 2019 renewal. He has a choice to make between the two stablemates, Clan Des Obeaux and Cyrname, both of whom have excellent claims for this race. It is a tough decision to make to get off a reigning champion, but Cobden could well find himself doing that this season. 

Past King George Winners

Some of the biggest names in the sport have won the King George VI Chase in the past, here is a look back at the past 10 winners of this race.

  • 2018 - Clan Des Obeaux
  • 2017 - Might Bite
  • 2016 - Thistlecrack
  • 2015 - Cue Card
  • 2014 - Silviniaco Conti
  • 2013 - Silviniaco Conti
  • 2012 - Long Run
  • 2011 - Kauto Star
  • 2010 - Long Run
  • 2009 - Kauto Star

Betting on the King George VI Chase

As far as betting races go, the King George VI Chase is right up there with the biggest of them and as well as being a top quality event, it is helped by taking place on Boxing Day. This means live coverage on ITV, a huge audience and a lot of people off work for the festive period. As a result of all of this, this is one of the biggest betting heats of the year, and a fascinating market to follow. The final declarations are revealed early for this race too, which helps, so that they can be publicised in the Christmas Eve newspapers in the UK, meaning punters have an extra day to study the final field of this race and many others. 

While the sheer volume of racing on Boxing Day is as big as we see during the year, punters don't forget about quality, and that always brings a big crowd of people looking to get a bet on this famous race. 

Something else that helps those betting on the King George VI Chase is the offers that bookmakers have on this race. If we have a big field then look out for enhanced place terms on each way bets, while enhanced odds on the favourite is also something you could see. Bookmakers will be doing what they can to stand out above the competition on this day and one of the ways to do this is by having these offers available for people to take advantage of. Opening a new betting account is something that many people do on Boxing Day, and the King George will form part of the offerings from those bookmakers, so check out if there is anything special on offer that you can use on this race before you open an account. 

Supporting Races at the Kempton Christmas Festival

The King George VI Chase is the centrepiece of the Kempton Christmas Festival, a two day feast of racing that takes place on the 26th & 27th December. Alongside the feature race on the 26th we have the Grade One Kauto Star Novice Chase and the Grade One Christmas Hurdle. The novice chase is a race where we will see stars of the future and horses that could turn into Gold Cup contenders. It is named after the great Kauto Star, a horse who won the King George VI Chase a remarkable five times, as well as winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup and many other prestigous races. The Christmas Hurdle is ran over two miles and possible Champion Hurdle contenders take their place herein the build up to that race. 

The second day of this meeting is home to two Grade Two races, the Desert Orchid Chase which is named after another King George VI hero, he won the race four times during his career. The other Grade Two is the Wayward Lad Novice Chase, a horse that won the King George VI three times in his career. Both of these races are ran over two miles, showcasing the stars of today and the future stars of tomorrow. As you can see from the race names that Kempton have in place for their big names, the tradition of the King George VI Chase has been going for many years, and horses that win the race are held in very high regard. 

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