Christmas is here which means only one thing and that’s high quality National Hunt Racing. A fantastic time of year for us racing nuts and it doesn’t come any bigger or better than Kempton on Boxing Day and The King George. Run over three miles with eighteen fences to jump it is an event every racing fan will watch, and every racing fan wants to back the winner in. Won in recent years by the likes of Thistlectrack, Cue Card, Silviniaco Conti and the wonderful Kauto Star, the King George always has an immediate bearing on the Gold Cup betting as soon as its been won. This year’s renewal has attracted an excellent field and makes for a very interesting race and betting heat.
MIGHT BITEA talented and quirky chaser Might Bite heads the betting for this year’s renewal. One of the most exciting prospects in training and his price reflects that, he has run some brilliant races so far in his career and has had some equally amazing incidents in these races. His fall at the last on this card last year stopped him from completing a breath-taking display but up to that he had been foot perfect. He also had a dramatic race with Whisper at Cheltenham this year when he pulled himself up after the last but still managed to run on and win the race. Not the first time he idled badly either but for all these little quirks punters see him as the most likely winner and it would be no surprise should he oblige for favourite backers. However, at such a small price and all his best form tying in so closely with Whisper who is a10/1 shot with ComeOn.com we are willing to look elsewhere for value.
BRISTOL DE MAI
The standout horse of the three-mile division so far, this season he’s been a revelation winning the Charlie Hall and Betfair Chase impressively. I tipped him for both these races, so he is a tempting bet, but race conditions did suit much better on those occasions and I felt his trainer Nigel Twiston Davies would have him primed and ready to go at the time. This race would not have been his main target at the start of the season, so he might just have run his race already and add to that the flat track at Kempton more suited to faster horses it just might not suit this stout stayer who loves the ground as heavy as possible.
Last years winner will be looking to get his career back on track after twelve months that many would not have foreseen when he crossed the line ahead of Cue Card to jubilant scenes this time last year. After that race, many people thought he was a certainty for the Gold Cup come March but a defeat in January to the ill fated Many Clouds and subsequent injury has seen Thistlecrack’s star dramatically fade. He reappeared in a hurdle race this month but put in a very poor display by most neutral observer’s estimation, although connections seemed happy with the run. A horse finding his way back from injury with his first run over fences in eleven months is a difficult one to back so hopefully he’ll run well but not my idea of the winner.
The Irish hope for the race comes in the form of the Gigginstown owned Noel Meade trained Disko. A horse I really like because of his jumping accuracy and willing attitude, boasts excellent form with the likes of Yorkhill, Our Duke, Top Notch and recent Tingle Creek winner Politilogue all finishing a few lengths in front or behind Disko. I feel he would have been aimed at this race so he’s ticking a lot of boxes along with having an excellent prep run, probably one of the hardest horses to pass up with him being double figure prices at the time of writing but if he does win, it will no doubt be a fantastic display of jumping on the day.
A very talented two-mile chaser whose connections would have been thinking Champion Chase rather then Gold Cup at the start of the season. But having come second in the Tingle Creek and always looking like he stays well, he’s attempting three miles for the first time here. Hard to make a case for on form where he’s never ran the distance but arguably his career best so far was over two and a half at Aintree and he looked to be full of running at the finish that day. Comparisons with Sizing John are not just the colours they run for but also stepping up from being two-mile specialists. Although that’s no guarantee he’ll get the trip, the fact that’s its Kempton and he will be dropped in to try and save every ounce of energy just might give him a chance. I tipped Sizing John for his step up to three miles and I hope Fox Norton will give the same outcome. If he’s still got petrol in the tank coming up the home straight, with his speed he could spring a big surprise so at 7/1 with ComeOn he’s my pick for the race.
TIP: FOX NORTON 7/1 with ComeOn
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