The Cheltenham Festival has long been one of the biggest and most prestigious events in UK National Hunt horse racing, generating more than £4 million in prize money over its four days
King George VI Chase
The King George VI Chase is one of the most thrilling events in the racing calendar. The Grade 1 National Hunt steeplechase is regarded as the second most prestigious race in English racing, surpassed only by the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and is open to horses four years and over.
The race was first run in 1937 and was named in honour of King George VI, who was the new monarch at the time. The King George VI Chase is run at Kempton Park and having reopened after the Second World War, the race was held on Boxing Day in 1947. It has remained a fixture on that date ever since.
The fact the King George VI Chase is run on Boxing Day adds to the spectacle thanks to the festivities at that time of year and makes for a fantastic day out at the races.
Several horses have won this race on more than one occasion, with Kauto Star leading the way with five victories. Desert Orchid has won it four times, with Ruby Walsh the leading jockey and Paul Nicholls the most successful trainer.
The question is, will we see a new name in the winner’s circle at the 2018 King George VI Chase?
King George VI Chase 2018 Betting Tips
Might Bite starts the 2018 King George VI Chase as the defending champion and the favourite in the eyes of the bookmakers, priced at 3/1. However, Might Bite was disappointing in the recent Betfair Chase. Not only did he fail to win the race, but he trailed in fifth place… with only five horses in the race.
Perhaps more worryingly, trainer Nicky Henderson was at a loss when he came to explain his poor performance, with the tough fences being pushed forward as the only excuse. However, Might Bite cannot be underestimated and strong showings at the Gold Cup and Aintree means he cannot be dismissed from bouncing back in style by winning the 2018 King George VI Chase.
Second in the betting at 5/1 is Waiting Patiently. He is unbeaten over fences and defeated Politologue at Haydock plus Cue Card in last season’s Ascot Chase, with the latter being a notable performance. There are arguments Cue Card was past his best in that race, but it doesn’t take away from the impressive racing of Waiting Patiently. Stamina could be the only stumbling block for Waiting Patiently, though, and the main reason why punters may be tempted to look elsewhere.
Just behind Waiting Patiently in the betting is Native River at 6/1. The 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner has 14 chase runs on his record, posting an impressive eight wins and never once finishing outside the top three places. He finished second in the Betfair Chase at Haydock towards the end of November and looks geared up to give the King George VI Chase a real go this year.
Other potential winners include the Betfair Chase winner Bristol de Mai at 8/1, 2016 winner Thistlecrack at 8/1 and Politologue, the recent Christy 1965 Chase winner, also coming in at 8/1 with the bookies.
King George VI Stakes Betting Guide
Despite the names of the horses changing over the years, the race course itself rarely changes – and this allows us to look at trends. These trends could come in useful when predicting future winners of the King George VI Stakes.
Kempton is a flat track, but do not be deceived into thinking horses do not require good stamina to win this race. The King George VI Stakes is usually run flat out and there is no time for the horses to get a breather, so look for horses with proven staying power when placing a bet.
Going back over the previous 16 winners of the race, 14 of them had a previous win over 3 miles under their belt. Again, keep that in mind when betting on the King George VI Stakes.
Another element to consider when betting on the King George VI stakes is past winners. Kauto Star and Desert Orchid, as highlighted above, are good examples, with The Fellow, One Man, See More Business, Kicking King, Long Run and Silviniaco Conti all winning the race at least twice.
One look at the stables shows Paul Nicholls, Colin Tizzard and Nicky Henderson have won the last 12 King George VI Stakes between them. Look for these names before placing a bet and you will not go far wrong.