Crockford previews the Christmas Cracker that is the King George VI Chase this year

Punters will relish the late Christmas present that is this year’s King George VI Chase. In a race that would be suitable for the Gold Cup itself, this year’s leading fancies provide a Cracker of a contest worthy of the mighty Kings of Kempton.

The favourite Cue Card was devastating when winning the Betfair Chase at Haydock last month, but he will face tough opposition from last season’s winner Long Run, the well fancied grey Dynaste and Paul Nicholl’s Al Ferof when he lines up for the festive feature.

Crockford considers each of the runners in the King George VI Chase:

Al Ferof –  First time out winner of the Paddy Power last season, he looked to be in excellent order on his return at Ascot when beating the in-form French Opera. His owner won this race twice with another famous Kempton King One Man. This grey’s ability must not be underestimated.

Champion Court – Game chaser who is a credit to his connections. Fancied for the Paddy Power and probably just short of this grade as proved in running last year.

Cue Card –  On his performance in the Betfair Chase he is a worthy favourite for the King George VI Chase. Imperious in the Ryanair at the Festival, he has strong claims. However, last year he disappointed in the race and with the recent illness in the yard doubts creep in.

Dynaste – Highly regarded by the stable, he was beyond impressive when taking the Feltham Chase at the meeting last December. Second behind Cue Card at Haydock he will come on from that run.

Long Run – Winner in 2012 and in 2011 (January running of the King George VI Chase) he has not been the force of old this season so far. His two last lacklustre performances may put many off of a punt on him again. However, this may be foolhardy given his form at the track, natural ability and trainers credentials.

Menorah – On his day a quality performer but even at his best probably still under this grade.

Mount Benbulben – The most fascinating of the nine runners in the field. Clearly very talented but a mercurial individual who on his a-game may have each way chances of a successful raid from Ireland. His trainer Elliott knows how to plan such things.

Riverside Theatre – Victor in the 2012 Ryanair Chase at the Festival, he was back to form at Huntingdon in the Peterborough Chase earlier this  month.  Place claims would not be unreasonable given his return to form. Excellent each way prices available at 22/1.

Silviniaco Conti – Third behind Cue Card and Dynaste at Haydock unless the ground softens substantially there would be no reason to see those placings reversed. The Gold Cup appears to be the main aim for the season.

Crockford’s prediction for King George VI Chase 2013:

1 AL FEROF

2 LONG RUN

3 RIVERSIDE THEATRE

 

(Featured Photograph – Al Ferof after his 2012 Paddy Power victory by Stuart Rice)

 

 

 

 

Al Ferof