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Monday, December 25, 2006


formerly in the Racing Post Weekender

2.20pm, Kempton Park, Tuesday, December 26, 2006


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 10 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 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), See More Business (1997 and 1999), and Kicking King (2004 and 2005) have all succeeded more than once.

However, no past winner is in the line-up so this fact does not help.

The most dominant trainer in the King George in recent years is Francois Doumen. Since he burst on to the British scene 19 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, Henrietta Knight and Tom Taaffe are the trainers who 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 Racing Demon and Exotic Dancer who have yet proved his stamina over at least three miles.

With the exceptions of King George specialists Wayward Lad and Desert Orchid, the 2003 hero Edredon Bleu is the only horse aged 10 or older to have triumphed in the King George since 1985. So we therefore get rid of 10-year-olds Ballycassidy and Puntal.

Good recent form is very important in the King George with 19 out of the last 21 victors having finished in the first three on their last start prior to Kempton.

Therefore, we can now add Commercial Flyer, Ollie Magern and Puntal to the list of eliminations, as they failed to make the frame last time out.

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 of the past 11.

This means we can throw out Monkerhostin, leaving a head to head between hot favourite Kauto Star and Monet’s Garden.

It is difficult to split them - on age Kauto Star is just favoured three to two - three six-year-olds against two eight-year-olds since 1985.

Three of the last four favourites have also won, favouring Kauto Star too, while Monet’s Garden has not raced since October, something only two previous winners since 1985 have done.

This means that KAUTO STAR is the Codebreaker selection.

For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink Archive

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