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tipsking george chase race preview betting tips 2023

King George Chase Race Preview & Betting Tips – Who to Back in Kempton Boxing Day Feature

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Shishkin is in the King George Chase race preview and betting tips

A lively King George VI Chase betting market finally shows signs of settling down for Christmas this year. It is the main event of Boxing Day horse racing, but punters and bookmakers alike have at one stage or another in the weeks leading up to it favoured first Bravemansgame, then Gerri Colombe and now Allaho.

It’s a puzzle all right. The Irish horses entered also have the Savills Chase much closer to home in the Emerald Isle on 28 December. Chances are if they go to Leopardstown, however, then they will rub shoulders with the 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Galopin Des Champs.

The muddle that traders on horse racing betting sites are in leaves a cloudy picture. Backers and layers of all kinds haven’t been helped by trainers en route either. Connections of Gerri Colombe are on weather watch. Defending champ Bravemansgame comes into his defence of the King George off the back of two damaging defeats, and the preparation of Shishkin has been even worse than that. Where to begin?

Allaho Must Show Ability Remains

Willie Mullins almost certainly won’t run Allaho and Galopin Des Champs in the same Christmastime race. The former is a dual Ryanair Chase winner, who has Grade 1 success over the longer trip of the King George Chase on his CV too.

Right-handed tracks are nothing new for Allaho, who has victories at Fairyhouse, Thurles, Punchestown and Clonmel in the Emerald Isle. Owned by Cheveley Park Stud, this nine-year-old No Risk At All gelding was coming over to the UK for this last Christmas but picked up an injury that ruled him out for the season.

If Allaho was rusty on reappearance in a three-horse race, then that’s understandable. He didn’t jump fluently and went left at a few fences, but only needed pushing out to score unextended. The runner-up was a stable companion Allaho had beaten before.

All a horse can do is win and, although well-backed in the ante post betting on the King George, this demands more. Allaho should strip fitter for his first racecourse outing in 561 days, but doesn’t really represent value at 7/4.

Past King George Chase Winners Line Up for Nicholls

This could prove foolish in hindsight come mid-afternoon on Boxing Day, but blind faith in Paul Nicholls might not be the wisest course for once. He’s saddled a record 13 winners of the Kempton festive feature, but Bravemansgame and Frodon aren’t exactly in peak form. One bookmaker’s spokesman described the former as “friendless” in the market.

Bravemansgame has been a false favourite and beaten at odds-on twice this season. In fact, he’s winless since claiming the King George crown 12 months ago. A lack of race fitness on testing ground seemed to catch this eight-year-old son of Brave Mansonnien out in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby.

No such excuse can be made for Bravemansgame’s subsequent defeat in the Betfair Chase. Outstayed at Haydock by Royale Pagaille, a horse that he had beaten by some 14 lengths in the King George last season, odds of 11/4 best look skinny.


Frodon is a beloved veteran, but rising 12. A confirmed frontrunner, it’s hard to see the Nickname gelding rolling back the years to past glories. Frodon is a 50/1 rank outsider at the penultimate declaration stage as he’s not the force of old.

Punters Can’t Back Gerri Colombe Until Final Decs

Gordon Elliott has a genuine Cheltenham Gold Cup contender on his hands in Gerri Colombe, but a midseason plan to run in the King George is up in the air. Based on how this Robcour-owned seven-year-old son of Saddler Maker shaped when winning at Down Royal on reappearance, Kempton looks a little sharp for him.

Gerri Colombe became outpaced in Northern Ireland before rallying superbly. He just got up and that augurs well for the extended 3m 2f of the Gold Cup. Gerri Colombe likes it soft underfoot, though, and the relatively dry forecast over Christmas is against him.

That puts punters in something of a quandary. All of the best betting sites have pushed Gerri Colombe’s King George Chase odds out as a result. He is a tempting price at as big as 6/1 with bookies and even larger on the exchanges.

When you can’t be certain that a horse will line-up, however, and don’t get non-runner no bet cover, backing Gerri Colombe is risky. Connections have even grander ambitions for their horse, so may yet sit Boxing Day out.

Shishkin Kempton Record Speaks for Itself

Once upon a time, Shishkin had the horse racing world at his feet. His preparation for a tilt at the King George Chase has been so bad, however, that punters should remember it before betting. Nicky Henderson’s nine-year-old son of Sholokhov refused to race on his intended reappearance in the 1965 Chase at Ascot in November.

Shishkin then got as far as Doncaster in a horsebox en route to Newcastle before the Rehearsal Chase up north was abandoned. The best laid plans thwarted, connections didn’t even feel they could get a spin over hurdles into him in the rearranged Fighting Fifth at Sandown.

Despite this absolutely disastrous comedy of errors, Shishkin boasts an unbeaten four out of four record at Kempton. Punters who take the 11/2 with 888sport can still get three places and get their money back each way. Rather than blind faith in Nicholls, it’s the same zealous hope that Henderson has got Shishkin fit at home in Seven Barrows.

The Real Whacker Must Prove Self Outside Cheltenham

Irish expat trainer Patrick Neville crashed a few parties with The Real Whacker at Cheltenham in novice chases last season. Based in Yorkshire, the yard punched well above its weight with this seven-year-old Mahler gelding. The issue with The Real Whacker is that all his winning form is around Prestbury Park.

One of the fundamentals of how to bet on horses successfully is knowing what the track is like. All Cheltenham and Kempton have in common is The Jockey Club owns them both. As courses, these venues couldn’t be more different. The Real Whacker pulled up under a welter burden in the Paddy Power Gold Cup on reappearance.

Whether he was just more forward than other novices last season remains to be seen. The Real Whacker faces a very different test here and double figure odds of 10/1 reflect that. He goes out and makes the running, but may have Frodon’s attention up front this time.

Royale Pagaille Needs Rain in Bid to Go One Better

On the bare face of last season’s King George Chase form, Royale Pagaille has plenty to find with Bravemansgame. There is an argument that he has already found it, however, by turning the tables on that one at Haydock. Trained by Venetia Williams for Rich & Susannah Ricci, this nine-year-old son of Blue Bresil is a real specialist on Merseyside.

Royale Pagaille has his Grade 1 victory, but also needs to prove he can do it elsewhere. He inherited second from stable companion L’Homme Presse who took a tired fall 12 months ago. As with Gerri Colombe above, soft ground is what Royale Pagaille needs to be at his best.

There’s no guarantee that he will get that at Kempton come Boxing Day. Rain would enhance the chances of Royale Pagaille, but without it he’s another available at 10/1 with good reason and may not line up on the day.

Hard to Make Case for Hewick

Completing the eight possible runners left in the King George Chase is another Irish raider in Hewick. Trained by Shark Hanlon, this eight-year-old Virtual gelding has a Galway Plate and American Grand National on his CV.

Hewick is also versatile as regards trip, scoring over 3m 5f on a couple of occasions including in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown. Despite an ability to stay further, recent efforts haven’t been great. Hewick ran fourth in the French Champion Hurdle and couldn’t defy topweight at Galway.

Even a King George which has looked pretty murky from a betting perspective at times demands more. It isn’t clear at this stage who will take the ride on Hewick, which contributes to odds of 20/1.

King George Chase Verdict & Betting Tips

  1. Shishkin @ 11/2 with 888sport
  2. Allaho @ 7/4 with William Hill
  3. Royale Pagaille E/W @ 10/1 with BoyleSports

Despite a nightmare prep, SHISHKIN hasn’t put a foot wrong at Kempton Park before. On that basis alone, he looks the value play in a very trappy renewal. An on-song Allaho would give him plenty to think about, while Royale Pagaille may have improved and Bravemansgame declined. Gerri Colombe isn’t a certain runner, so cannot be recommended.

Jamie Clark
Jamie Clark
Jamie Clark

Jamie Clark has been with from the very beginning and penned the very first pieces of content that appeared right here. Known for his horse racing expertise, his strong gambling knowledge comes from childhood where he was surrounded by both horses and betting. The godson of a former on-track bookmaker at Market Rasen Racecourse, Jamie ended up working in the same industry and became Sports Editor of heavyweight bookies Coral for three years before they merged with Ladbrokes. After a successful spell freelancing for other big names in the business, he helped us launch this site with his skills, experience and ability coming in useful. Read long form content across a range of betting subjects from Jamie right here.