First staged in the 1937, the King George VI Chase is one of the premier chases of the entire season and will feature many horses who have Cheltenham Festival aspirations. Many who have won this contest went on to claim the Cheltenham Gold Cup, with the great Kauto Star winning this contest a record five times in his illustrious career. As with any race, there are trends that can be followed to help find the winner and we believe we have found the crucial statistics. For a different perspective into the contest, please take a look at our King George VI Antepost Preview which goes through each of the key runners in detail. It must be noted before we get into the trends that they do swing a certain way in part thanks to the five victories of Kauto Star (06, 07, 08, 09, 11).
- Punters have cleaned house – Since 2000, ten favourites have gone on to win the prize and many at short prices
- Quality shines through – Since 2000 only one horse had not tasted Grade 1 success prior to their Kempton victory
- Age isn’t just a number – Since 2000 only five horses have won this race at the age of nine or older
- A class apart – Thirteen out of the last fifteen winners had been rated 169 or above
- The three amigos – Since 2006 the only trainers to have won the contest are Paul Nicholls (6) Nicky Henderson (2) and Colin Tizzard (2)
After looking at the trends, you will struggle to look past the chances of Might Bite. He is the current favourite who is the right age and is trained by the right trainer. His rating is seven pounds below 169, but he’s clearly a better horse than that and his rating could sky rocket if he was to take this.
Favourites have done very well in this contest in recent year’s and that is due in part to the quality of horses such as Kauto Star and Kicking King. It does read well for the favourite Might Bite though, who is currently a short price to make amends for his shocking fall in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase twelve months ago. In terms of Grade 1 experience, most of the prominent runners in the market have tasted their share of top success so we’ll have to look elsewhere to try and rule out horses.
History would suggest you don’t want to be above the age of eight if you’re to be winning this and that’s another feather in the cap of Might Bite, who fits the bill at the age of eight. It does dent the claims of Whisper, who at the age of nine will need a career best if he’s to win his first Grade 1 over fences. It doesn’t read well for Thistlecrack either, especially as since 2004 only three horses have managed to defy an age of nine or more.
In terms of ratings there are several horses rated 169 or above, with the top rated being Bristol De Mai, who romped home in the Betfair Chase last time out in softer ground. Thistlecrack bids to go back to back in the contest and is rated 170 on his return to the bigger obstacles. The other who fits the bill is Whisper, but the fact he’s been given such a hike in the ratings since his 2nd in the Ladrokes Trophy has been lamented by his trainer.
Colin Tizzard is bidding for his third straight winner in this race, with Thistlecrack needing to bounce back to his very best if he’s to be going back to back. Fox Norton is perhaps the more interesting of the Tizzard pair, as he steps up to this trip for the first time and judging by his Melling Chase romp at Aintree back in April, he may just stay. Nicky Henderson has won two renewals of this race since 2010, with Long Run winning twice for Seven Barrows. Might Bite is his challenger this year and the fact he’s under the guidance of Henderson is just another feather in his cap when looking at the trends.