I’ll be riding three at Market Rasen on Boxing Day – Benny’s Bridge would be the pick of those – but no doubt all eyes will be on Kempton and a superb edition of the 32Red King George.
I genuinely believe you can make a case for all 10 runners, and that includes Double Shuffle, Tea For Two and Coneygree.
If you were being honest, there isn’t one horse in the race which you can point to and say he ticks every box, whether it be the track, ground, trip or well-being.
If I had the choice, I’d probably like to be riding Thistlecrack.
Everyone made a big deal about the stiff fences at Haydock the day Bristol De Mai won the Betfair Chase, and they probably inconvenienced Thistlecrack more than any other horse.
But if he gets it all together here – and don’t lose sight of the fact that he was having just his seventh chase start that day – then I think he has the class to take this prize.
He was something else the day he beat me on Cue Card in this race two years ago.
You have to be worried about last year’s winner Might Bite after what he did at Haydock. I know he may have needed it and Nicky will have got him re-tuned up for this, but he ran like a 100/1 chance. It’s a fair leap of faith to see him winning this after that run.
I don’t think this is necessarily Bristol De Mai’s track but you have to respect him after what he did to Native River in the Betfair Chase.
That said, Native River is the Gold Cup winner and the best horse in here on that defeat of Might Bite, and he always gives you a run for your money, even when conditions aren’t ideal.
This should be a great race to ride in, and a pretty easy one too, as there will be an end-to-end gallop and you can ride your race accordingly.
The way King Georges are run mean they are every bit as gruelling and stamina-sapping as a Gold Cup, and I would have my doubts about Politologue staying. I can see him coming out swinging there 2 out, and not getting home.
I think Waiting Patiently will stay – he was very good when he beat me on Cue Card at Ascot last season – but this will be an unbelievable training performance from Ruth Jefferson if he wins this first-time-out. I haven’t heard a lot of people actually say that, but it will be awesome if he went and won.
I can’t readily recall the last King George winner to take the race on his reappearance, though.
Given the way the race is likely to be run, I give last year’s runner-up Double Shuffle an each-way shout after a better run at Aintree last time. Track and ground are ideal, and I can see him running well.
But it’s a devil of a race to call. Thistlecrack for me though, maybe from Native River and Double Shuffle.
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