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Sunday, December 26, 2004




1.15pm skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase (Class A) (Listed Race) (5yo+), 3m 1f

For the latest best odds, go to www.britodds.com

BP= best price at the time of writing

1) F-38 Royal Emperor Sue Smith 8-11-12 Dominic Elsworth
Was in great form last season, when he finished a fine second in Royal & SunAlliance Chase at Cheltenham. However, has not yet sparkled this season but is open to improvement. BP = 7/1

2) 1-14 Murphy’s Cardinal Noel Chance 8-11-11Tom Doyle
Winner of six of his seven starts, including Grade Three at Down Royal on penultimate appearance. Ran better than position suggests when encountering first defeat at Sandown last time and is a leading contender. BP = 7/2

3) P-44 Truckers Tavern Ferdy Murphy 9-11-07t Keith Mercer(5)
Second to Best Mate in 2003 Gold Cup but it is a while since he has shown his best form and he often jumps far from fluently. Trainer in good form. BP = 10/1

4) /65- Ryalux Andy Crook 11-11-04 Owyn Nelmes (5)
Returning from a leg injury and his last success came in the 2003 Scottish National at Ayr. Has clearly had his problems and best watched on his first outing in over a year. BP = 25/1

5) /1-4 Lord Transcend Howard Johnson 7-11-01 Paul Robson (3)
Very decent staying novice over hurdles two seasons ago and successful in chase at Ayr last season before picking up leg injury. Ran well for a long way in the Hennessy on seasonal reappearance and clearly an exciting prospect but he is a very short price. BP = 13/8

6) P-53 Gunner Welburn Andrew Balding 12-10-12p Russ Garritty
Won a less competitive renewal of this race 12 months ago but needs to improve on his two starts this season and looks very vulnerable this year to more improving types. BP = 9/1

7) 2P-2 Wain Mountain Jim Old 8-10-10 Wayne Hutchinson
Promising seasonal reappearance at Chepstow over two and a halfmiles and a lightly-raced sort who could well be open to further improvement. However, would ideally need much softer ground to be seen at his best and this is a much tougher test. BP = 10/1

8) 1-F1 Cruise Leader Chris Grant 9-10-01 Richard McGrath
Couse specialist, having won three of his last four starts all at this venue. Lightly-raced and open to further improvement. Needs to step up a gear to win this but by no means out of it and is at the right end of the handicap. BP = 7/1

9) -312 Malek Keith Reveley 8-10-00 Jim Crowley
Very thorough stayer and is likely to find things a bit too quickly for him here, especially on this ground. BP = 16/1

A good renewal of this quality handicap. There are several improving performers in the field, with the best value of these being CRUISE LEADER each-way.


formerly in the Racing Post Weekender

2.10pm, Kempton Park, Sunday, December 26, 2004


Past Trends:

Horses should have won over at least three miles previously

Discount horses older than nine

Look for horses that were placed last time out - ideally horses that won

Concentrate on shorter-priced horses

Favourites have won 8 times since 1985

The £200,000 Stan James 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 14 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 sees last year’s winner Edredon Bleu and the 2000 winner First Gold line up again.

The most dominant trainer in the King George in recent years is Francois Doumen. Since he burst on to the British scene 17 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. Paul Nicholls and Henrietta Knight have won two renewals each.

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 and Edredon Bleu in 2004 had not previously been successful over at least three miles at some point earlier in their career.

On that basis, we can eliminate Azertyuiop, Fondmort, Hot Shots, Kicking King, Le Roi Miguel and Seebald, 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, last year’s hero Edredon Bleu is the only horse older than 10 to have triumphed in the King George since 1985. So we therefore retain Edredon Bleu but must discard the 11-year-olds First Gold and Tiutchev.

Good recent form is very important in the King George with 17 out of the last 19 victors having finished in the first three on their last start prior to Kempton.

Therefore, we can now add Edredon Bleu to the list of eliminations, as he failed to make the frame last time out.

Codebreaker has now managed to condense the 13 declarations to four possible selections - Calling Brave, Kingscliff, Lord Sam and Therealbandit.

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 12 winners since 1985 having scored before running in the King George, including the last nine. Calling Brave, Kingscliff and Lord Sam were all only placed last time and are passed over.

That leaves us with THEREALBANDIT as the selection.

Confidence in the selection is boosted by the fact that horses starting 10/1 or less have a good record in the King George - only five winners since 1985 have started bigger. Therealbandit is currently trading at less with sponsors Stan James.


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