Horse Racing Tips: King George VI Chase 2021 Preview

Kempton betting tips

Run over a practically flat three miles at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, the King George VI Chase is, in terms of prestige, second only to the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Paul Nicholls is the leading trainer in the history of the Christmas showpiece and, once again, holds a strong hand with previous winners Frodon and Clan Des Obeaux at the head of the ante-post market.

 

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Clan Des Obeaux heads straight to Kempton

The winner of this race in 2018 and 2019, Clan Des Obeaux (11/4 with Betfred) was sent off favourite to complete a hat-trick last year, but could make no impression from two out and had to settle for a modest third behind his largely unconsidered stable companion Frodon. However, he did return to winning form in the spring, hacking up in the Betway Bowl at Aintree and getting the better of a sustained duel with former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo in the Punchestown Gold Cup. He hasn’t been seen in public since, but Nicholls said, ‘ …we are not going to run him before then [Boxing Day] because I think he is good fresh…’

 

Underestimate Frodon at your peril

Speaking of Cheltenham Gold Cup winners, Frodon (11/2 with Bet365) proved no match for Minella Indo in the ‘Blue Riband’ event itself last March, but beat Henry de Bromhead’s charge 5 lengths in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase on his reappearance at Down Royal in October. He may have had fitness on his side on the latter occasion but, in the hands of regular partner Bryony Frost, continues to exceed expectations and may do again.

 

Chantry House is headed the right way

Beyond the front two in the market, Chantry House (6/1 with Paddy Power) took his form to a new level when winning the Marsh Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree towards the end of last season. Indeed, his 32-length defeat of Shan Blue looks even better than it did at the time, granted that Shan Blue was 20 lengths clear when falling three out in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on his reappearance in October. A wide-margin victory The Big Breakaway (66/1 with William Hill) in a match at Sandown on his own reappearance in November wasn’t that informative, but at least demonstrated his well-being.

 

Espoir De Romay looks a lively outsider

Interestingly, at longer odds, Espoir De Romay (20/1 with 888Sport) was still two lengths in front when falling two out in the aforementioned Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree last April and is worth a second look. His reappearance effort, when only third to Fiddlerontheroof (33/1 with Betfred) in an intermediate chase at Carlisle in October, was a little disappointing, but he remains unexposed as a staying chaser and is definitely one to consider.

 

Minella Indo should improve

Of course, it would be folly to write off Minella Indo (7/1 with Bet365), whose Cheltenham Gold Cup win was franked, in no uncertain terms, by runner-up La Plus Tard in the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park in November. Trainer Henry de Bromhead admitted that Minella Indo is ‘maybe not your typical King George horse’, but is, nevertheless, ‘highly likely’ to run at Kempton. The Knockeen handler also said that the 8-year-old should ‘come on plenty’ for his reappearance run.

 

Lostintranslation no longer a back number?

Last, but by no means least, Lostintranslation (16/1 with Betfred) finished a close third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2020, but endured a torrid time in 2021, when he flopped dismally on all four starts. However, following his second, and third, wind operations, he was the subject of positive reports prior to his reappearance at Ascot in November. He duly obliged and, while he probably needs to return to his best to figure, he shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.

 

The King George VI Chase promises to be as thrilling as ever, but it’s hard to escape the chance of Minella Indo, who doesn’t need an out-and-out slog to be seen at his best. Henry de Bromhead seems to have no qualms about taking on his Down Patrick conqueror, Frodon, again and that’s good enough for us!

Selection: Minella Indo (7/1 with Bet365)

 

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