The King George V1 Chase has a history of producing multiple winners over the last 10 years and only the last three winners have won the race once since 2008. Kauto Star, Long Run and Silviniaco Conti all won more than one King George over that spell and Thistlecrack can win the race again two years after winning it for the first time. The mid-season championship chase takes place over three miles at Kempton Park on Boxing Day. Some of the best chasers in the sport have won it.
Trends can provide clues for the potential winners of championship races. Grade 1 races over fences are run at the same tracks and date from year to year and there are some established trials. The profile of past winners can help to identify the leading contenders for the upcoming race. The King George is a major trail for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the second most important steeplechase of the season. Over the last decade the background of the winner has had a number of factors in common which in some cases have been without exception.
The King George attracts the best staying chasers in Britain and Ireland and sometimes from further afield. Francois Doumen often brought his best chasers to run in the race from France. From 1987 to 2000 he won the King George five times with four different horses. The common factor was that his winners were amongst the best rated chasers when he travelled to Kempton over Christmas. However, Kauto Star (2011) was the last winner to also win the Gold Cup. Long Run, Best Mate and Kicking King have also won both races this century.
Every winner of the King George over the last 10 years has had an adjusted Racing Post Rating of 174. All but one winner in that spell had run in eight chases or more. Nine of that 10 had been successful in at least one Grade 1 chase and the same number won the King George aged from six to nine. Two trends have delivered four times out of five so 80% of the winners have won a graded chase from 2 miles 4 furlongs to 2 miles and 6 furlongs and been rated within 6lbs of the top rated runner. All but two of the last 10 winners also had chase winning form over three miles or more. Six winners had run in the King George before.
There are a number of intended runners in the 2018 race who meet some of the qualifying criteria for possible winners. More significantly the trainer to follow in staying races is Colin Tizzard. He won the Gold Cup last season with Native River and two of the last three King George’s with Cue Card and Thistlecrack. Cue Card has been retired but Native River and Thistlecrack are still in the declared runners for the King George and the latter is best suited to the track. Native River could have some limitations exposed going right-handed at Kempton.
Thistlecrack is proven over the course and distance. The horse has not won a race since the Boxing Day feature in 2016. However, Thistlecrack ran a promising trial in the Betfair Chase at Haydock. The horse charged up the home straight better than any of the other runners without the jockey asking too many questions. Thistlecrack produced an RPR just two pounds below his best and that form and rating and other elements makes Thistlecrack the trends selection for the King George.
Today’s Sports Betting Preview – By Rick Elliott
Everton Can Avoid Defeat At The Etihad
If you were asked to select Manchester City’s best 11 John Stones, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne would be on the team sheet. If you were asked to name one Everton player who is indispensable the name of Idrissa Gueye would unlikely to feature. All five players will be absent today when Manchester City are at home to Everton in a fixture that has produced a draw in the last three seasons.
City have won nine home Premier League matches in a row but Everton have not been disgraced against top six teams on their travels. At the latest odds the DRAW is the bet of this match at 13/2 with bet365. These two teams have won more corners than anybody else in the Premier League this season.
Fulham and West Ham who meet at Craven Cottage today are in the bottom half of the table for corners won. The home team are on course to break the record for goals conceded in a 38-match Premier League season. The Hammers have won six league matches this season but only kept a clean sheet in one of those fixtures.
Fulham are at the bottom of the table while West Ham have won three EPL matches on the bounce. Fulham have the worst defence in the division but West Ham usually concede when they win a match. The trends suggest a West Ham win with both teams scoring but a more cautious option is just BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE at 8/15 with William Hill.
The racing Press have caught up with how unlucky Rather Be was in the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham. The horse is all the rage to win the second big handicap chase at Cheltenham before Christmas today. The International Hurdle (3.05) is also an intriguing race which The New One is trying to win for the fourth time. Jumping let Summerville Boy down against Samcro and Buvuer D’Air at Newcastle but the horse still won the Festival opener in March after making a pig’s ear of the last two hurdles. SUMMERVILLE BOY is the horse to back at 3/1 with Betfair.