Monday, December 26, 2005
CODEBREAKER EVERY WEEK
formerly in the Racing Post Weekender
2.15pm, Sandown Park, Monday, December 26, 2005
£200,000 STAN JAMES KING GEORGE VI CHASE, 3m 110y
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.
This year's contest, switched from Kempton Park to neighbouring Sandown Park due to redevelopment, is Race 22 in the British Horseracing Board's Order of Merit Championship.
It is also the second leg of the Betfair Million, which will see the connections of Kingscliff scoop a £1 million bonus if he can follow-up his win in the Betfair Chase at Haydock with victory here and in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup in March next year.
Since 1982, only 15 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 Kicking King will bid to add his name to that illustrious roll of honour by attempting to follow-up his success of 12 months ago.
The most dominant trainer in the King George in recent years is Francois Doumen. Since he burst on to the British scene 18 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 (1991 & 1992) 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.
While Kempton is seen as an easy track by many, which suits those horses who do not properly stay three miles, Sandown is a stiff track, and the winner will need to have sufficient stamina to last home.
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.
Although Monkerhostin has recorded a victory over three miles over hurdles, he has never even run over that trip over fences, and is therefore eliminated from calculations.
Good recent form is very important in the King George with 18 out of the last 20 victors having finished in the first three on their last start prior to the big race.
For that reason, we can discard the chances of Ballycassidy and Ollie Magern, who both failed to make the frame last time out. Monkerhostin, who finished fourth last time out, has already been bypassed due to never having raced or won over three miles over fences before.
All of the last 20 winners have had at least one race that season. It is here that we lose Irish Hussar, who is making his seasonal reappearance in the contest.
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 13 winners since 1985 having scored before running in the King George, including the last 10. Last year's victor Kicking King was only third last time, and along with L'Ami, is overlooked on this occasion.
With nine out of the last 10 winners have been priced at 10/1 or shorter, the statistics do not favour longer-priced runners. For that reason, we can discount the chances of outsider Royal Auclair, despite the good record in the race of his trainer, Paul Nicholls.
Codebreaker has now managed to condense the 9 declarations down to two possible selections - Impek and Kingscliff.
As seven out of the last 10 winners of the Stan James King George VI Chase had all previously been successful at least once in Grade One company, it is Impek, who has never won at the top level, that we lose at the final fence.
That leaves us with KINGSCLIFF as the selection.
HOPE YOU HAD A MERRY CHRISTMAS and WISHING YOU A HAPPY NEW YEAR
For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink Archive