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The King George VI Chase at Kempton hasn’t been too happy a race for Irish runners in the past decade. Even when there was an Irish winner last year, most of us were backing other leading contenders.
A day after all the expense of Christmas came a shock winner at Kempton. Tornado Flyer was the 28/1 winner beating Irish runners such as Minella Indo and Asterion Forlonge. Neither of those opponents finished the race and after an early mistake, it looked like Tornado Flyer might not do so either.
He did though and won the race by nine lengths from Clan Des Obeaux. It was the first race Tornado Flyer had won since 2019 and has returned to his inconsistent form in three subsequent races.
Gambling really can be tough at times, so what lies ahead of us on Boxing Day this year? According to NJ online horse wagering sites, such as 4NJBets Willie Mullins has the current favorite in the betting market. 20 years elapsed between the first King George VI Chase winner for Mullins (Florida Pearl in 2021) and his second success. It’s unlikely another two decades will pass before he next wins this race.
Allaho wouldn’t do his chances of winning the 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup any harm if winning at Kempton. The current King George VI Chase favorite would be winning for a third year in a row at the Festival if landing the Gold Cup. Previous successes have been in the Ryanair Chase but there are bigger fish to fry in 2023.
That’s run over two and a half miles but the three miles at Kempton won’t be a concern. Last season ended with a Punchestown Gold Cup win over the same distance as the King George VI Chase. The last three wins of the 2021/22 season were achieved by an aggregate of 40 lengths. The next few months could indeed be massive ones for Allaho.
Betting on this race hopefully won’t be as nightmarish as in 2021. It took place just before New York made mobile sports betting legal. That’s been a huge success and many bettors will be hoping to get the winner of the King George VI Chase.
If Allaho goes to post he won’t have it all his own way. Perhaps we should learn a lesson from what happened last year in this race. Don’t back the most fancied Mullins runner, consider backing one of his entries lower down in the betting market.
The last six-year-old horse to win the King George VI Chase was Clan Des Obeaux six years ago. Galopin Des Champs bids to repeat that feat this December. If he comes to the last clear of the field, it’s probably best to close your eyes and cross your fingers and toes.
Most punters were getting ready to collect their winnings when Galopin Des Champs led going to the last in the Golden Miller Chase. Another Irish win at the Cheltenham Festival looked likely but he fell at that last fence.
The same nearly happened next time out but the Mullins runner stayed on his feet to win. A bold effort will be made to give Mullins the win here but a place is more likely than finishing first past the post. Mind you, after what happened last year, who knows, we might get another shock winner.