Wednesday, December 24, 2003
2.20pm, Kempton, UK, Friday, December 26, 2003
£160,000 PERTEMPS KING GEORGE VI CHASE, 3m
Horses must have won over at least three miles previously
Discount horses older than nine
Look for horses that were paced last time out - ideally horses that won
Concentrate on shorter-priced horses
The £160,000 Pertemps King George VI Chase is always one of the highlights of the jumping season, being the mid-season championship for three-mile chasers.
Since 1982, only 13 individual horses have won this race, demonstrating that this is a good race for multiple winners.
Wayward Lad (1982, 1983 and 1985), Desert Orchid (1986, 1988, 1989 and 1990), The Fellow (1991 and 1992), One Man (1995 and 1996) and See More Business (1997 and 1999) have all succeeded more than once.
This season, however, neither of the last two scorers, Best Mate and Florida Pearl, are set to line up although the 2000 winner First Gold winner is amongst the 12 declared runners.
The most dominant trainer in the King George in recent years is Francois Doumen. Since he burst on to the British scene16 years ago when his 25/1 shot Nupsala shocked the odds-on Desert Orchid, the French handler has saddled the victor on four more occasions, twice with The Fellow as well as Algan (1994) and in 2000 with First Gold.
Codebreaker will now examine the trends that have emerged in the King George since 1985 and highlight the likely winner on Boxing Day.
Many people claim that Kempton is an easy track and that horses that do not stay three miles on stiffer tracks can stay the distance here. This is not borne out by the facts.
Since 1985, only Desert Orchid in 1986 had not previously been successful over at least three miles at some point earlier in their career.
On that basis, we can immediately eliminate Edredon Bleu, Fondmort, Le Roi Miguel, Seebald and Tiutchev, none of whom have yet proved their stamina over at least three miles.
With the exceptions of King George specialists Wayward Lad and Desert Orchid, no horse older than 11 has triumphed in the King George since 1985. We can therefore show the door to the 11-year-old Marlborough.
Good recent form is very important in the King George with 16 out of the last 18 victors having finished in the first three on their last start prior to Kempton.
Therefore, we can add First Gold, It Takes Time and La Landiere to the list of eliminations, with none of this trio having made the frame last time out.
Codebreaker has now managed to condense the 12 declarations to three possible selections - Jair du Cochet, Swansea Bay and Valley Henry.
Returning to the issue of previous outings, in addition to having been placed last time out, it is also very desirable to have won with 11 winners since 1985 having won before running in the King George, including the last eight. Valley Henry, third last time out, is therefore discarded.
Horses starting 10/1 or less have a good record in the King George, only four winners since 1985 have started bigger, and favourites have a fair record, with eight winners during that period.
This means that it is wise to side with JAIR DU COCHET, currently the clear favourite with all bookmakers, rather than with Swansea Bay who is trading between 10 and 14/1.
He is also French-trained, though not by Francis Doumen.
MERRY CHRISTMAS and A HAPPY NEW YEAR
For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink