For many families – whether they are horse racing fans, or not – watching and having a bet on the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day has become a firm festive tradition.
So, with many recreational punters crawling out of the woodwork there is a slight Grand National feel to the race each year and with familiar names returning year-after-year then even the ‘once-a-year’ players start to build up a following for certain horses.
Star names like Desert Orchid, The Fellow, One Man, See More Business, Kicking King, Long Run, Kauto Star and Silviniaco Conti are examples of past winners that came back and won this prize at least once more, so past champions also have a cracking record in this Kempton Park Grade One.
It might be more of the same this year too with last year’s hero – Might Bite – and the 2016 victor, Thistlecrack, both in the line-up and if we add into the mix the exciting Waiting Patiently, who is six-from-six over fences, the Paul Nicholls-trained Polotologue, plus the recent Betfair Chase hero Bristol De Mai and the current Gold Cup winner – Native River – then we are set up for a ‘must-see’ renewal of this Boxing Day feature.
You can get more help finding the winner of the King George VI Chase on our ITV Tips page.
Plus, to help pin-point the best winning profile of the 2018 King George VI Chase we are on-hand with some key trends and statistics.
We hope they help you find the winner, but if you fancy a horse that we’ve not featured below then simply apply these stats to that runner.
King George VI Chase Trends
15 of the last 16 winners had raced in the last five weeks
15 of the last 16 finished in the top three last time out
14 of the last 16 winners were French (10) or Irish (4) bred
13 of the last 16 winners were officially rated 169 or higher
12 of the last 16 winners were aged eight or younger
11 of the last 16 winners won their last race
10 of the last 16 winners had won over fences at Kempton before
Trends – Key Runners
Might Bite ✅❌✅✅❌❌✅
Waiting Patiently ❌✅✅✅✅✅✅
Bristol De Mai ✅✅✅❌✅✅❌
Native River ✅✅✅✅✅❌❌
As mentioned in the intro, past winners of this race have a great record so last year’s hero Might Bite will be looking to back that stat up. He beat Double Shuffle by just a length twelve months ago and after being a beaten favourite in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and then flopping in the Betfair Chase (last of five) on his return last month, this Nicky Henderson-trained nine-year-old is certainly showing a few chinks in his armour. Connections are reporting that he’s in much better form now and being the current champ, that is also the second-highest rated in the field, then he’s hard to ignore. He does, however, fall down on three of our seven trends, with recent form and age (nine) the negatives he’s got to overcome. In short, he’s a classy sort that is a proven winner of this race, but he’s also shown he’s not invincible and with this renewal looking much better than last year’s then others are preferred.
Waiting Patiently is a horse that certainly lives up to his name as connections have not been rushing this exciting younger chaser in the last few seasons. He’s unbeaten over fences (six-from-six) and after winning at Kempton and Ascot last season was put away again for the season with the main Cheltenham and Aintree festivals bypassed. He’s a seven-year-old with huge potential and gets a thumbs-up on six of our seven trends too. It’s only not having had a recent run that might look against him but this proven Grade One and course winner has won first time out for the last two seasons so the three hundred-and-twelve day absence from the track isn’t too much of a concern. He looks a big player.
There have been some popular grey horses to win the King George VI Chase in recent years – Teeton Mill, One Man and a certain Desert Orchid – the latest that will be hoping to join that hall-of-fame is Politologue. From the Paul Nicholls camp, that will be looking for their tenth success in this race, he’s a horse that has improved fourteen pounds in the ratings from last November and at just seven years-old there could be more to come. He was a good winner at Ascot on his return last month and the form of that win has since been franked by the runner-up so everything looks in place for a big run. Those against him might look to this being his first try over three miles but he runs as if he’ll stay. The trends also give him a great chance with six of our seven on his side. He falls down on not being rated 169+, but at 168 he only just falls down here. He’s another that ticks a lot of boxes.
Bristol De Mai is another popular grey but it’s no secret these days that for what ever reason he seems to be a much better horse at Haydock. Okay, he has won at the likes of Wetherby and Sandown over fences, but he was a poor sixth in this race last year off the back of another impressive Betfair Chase win, so he’s a hard horse to judge away from his beloved Haydock. He had most of the main players here – Might Bite, Native River and Thistlecrack behind him last time so there is no doubting he is very useful on his day but he lack consistency. The trends see him tick five of our seven – with his rating (165) and having not won at Kempton the two negatives. To conclude, he’s certainly got the ability to win a King George but having flopped in the race last year at 3/1 he’s still got some questions to answer.
The 2016 winner of this race – Thistlecrack – will be looking to become the first horse since Long Run (2012) to win back his King George VI Chase crown and after running on well in the Betfair Chase last time out then he’ll have his supporters. He’s a horse that’s had his issues over the years but that last run was certainly a sign there could be more to come from him. He does seem to have a big ask based on our trends though with four of the seven against him. Those looking to take him on might also look at this age as a negative as since 1991 (twenty-seven runnings) we’ve only seen two winners aged ten or older. On a plus, he’s actually lightly-raced over fences (just seven runs) and has only finished out of the top three once from these outings over the bigger obstacles. He also finished fourth in this race last year – beaten just over five lengths – so can’t be ruled out, but a place, rather than a win might be on the cards.
Last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup winner – Native River – is the final big name to take his chance and after returning with a solid second in the Betfair Chase last time out at Haydock then he should be spot-on for this. Another form the Colin Tizzard yard, that have won two of the last three runnings of this race, and from his fourteen runs over fences he’s yet to finish out of the first three (eight wins). He also a Welsh National winner so stays further than this trip, so we can expect connections to make full use of his proven stamina. With five of our seven trends on his side this eight-year-old is another with strong claims and with his consistent record over fences then it will be a brave man that says he won’t be placed (at worse) yet again.
Every Kempton race covered live on ITV can be found on our Kempton Racing Tips page, with runner by runner previews for each contest.