Silviniaco Conti can be late Christmas present but watch out for last year's favourite
Only 2 trainers have won the King George in the last 8 years and one of those, Nicky Henderson, is without a runner this time around. There will be plenty of pressure on Paul Nicholls who has won this 6 times recently with Kauto Star and Silviniaco Conti, he saddles 3 of the 10 runners as he bids to continue his domination of Kempton’s top race.
Nicholls has 2 of the first 3 in the betting, two time winner Silviniaco Conti (5/2) and also recent Ascot scorer Al Ferof (6/1). Silviniaco Conti improved massively between the Charlie Hall Chase and the Betfair Chase, he was beaten 8 lengths by Menorah at Wetherby (Menorah is 8/1 to win this race) but then beat Menorah by 2 lengths at Haydock. He won this race comfortably enough last year from Cue Card (15/2) who is the second highest rated runner in the race but he’s been so out of form this term he is readily discounted. The next highest rated runner has 5lbs to find with the favourite.
Al Ferof has been a bit in and out on recent starts but his latest win was certainly visually impressive. The handicapper thinks that run equalled any of his achievements in the past but it didn’t look the deepest field and he still hasn’t won over further than an extended 2.5 miles so although he may run well, at the price he’s a risk.
Champagne Fever (4/1) is the bookies’ idea of the biggest challenger to another Paul Nicholls victory and Willie Mullins’ promising chaser should enjoy this course. The trip is an unknown but shouldn’t be a problem, however the ground could be. All his wins have come on testing ground and if backing at this sort of price you’d want a bit more proof that he’ll be at his best in these conditions.
There seem to be plenty of runners who are too short in the betting but what about those that offer a bit of value? Dynaste looks to have been overlooked a little at 8/1. He has 10 lengths to make up on the favourite here from Haydock but Dynaste was conceding race fitness that day. The David Pipe runner only has a length and a half to make up on him from their meeting at Aintree in April and it should be remembered that he was deemed good enough to start this race as favourite last year. Lameness ruined any chance he had that day and it would be no surprise to see him finish very close to Silviniaco Conti.
It is the favourite though that is tipped to win. Paul Nicholls knows exactly how to train a horse for this race, the horse is proven here and he arrives in good form. He’d perhaps like the ground a bit softer but he has plenty of form on all going types. Dynaste can follow him home and is one for each way backers.