With the King George VI Chase back on the horizon, it really does show how fast this year has gone. After a solid season of flat racing, which finally welcomed back spectators to racecourses after an 18-month absence, the National Hunt is back on everyone’s mind, with the King George at Kempton one of the most prestigious races on the calendar.
Following coronavirus restrictions last year, the event took place behind closed doors, so it will be great for Kempton to once again open its doors and allow spectators to cheer on some of the best horses and jockeys around this Boxing Day. As usual, expect cold conditions, plenty of action, and the potential for a massive upset on even the best racing betting website.
There have been plenty of shock victories before in the King George as well as favourites asserting their dominance on one of the final Group One races of the year. With that in mind, we thought we would run through some of the previous winners of the King George VI Chase.
2020 – Frodon
It seems to come as a shock to everyone when something of an outsider wins a prestigious race, and few inside Kempton would have anticipated 20/1 shot Frodon to have picked up first place. Victory in the Ryanair Chase earlier in the year at Cheltenham clearly allowed Paul Nicholls’ then eight-year-old to build a surge of momentum, something that he clearly carried into the King George, seeing off the likes of Black Op and the Christian Williams-trained Waiting Patiently, who had to settle for second.
2019 and 2018 – Clan des Obeaux
Although he may have finished in a disappointing third in the most recent King George, the previous two years Clan des Obeaux was a back-to-back winner, wrapping up the decade in style with good work from both Harry Cobden and Sam Twiston-Davies. Once again, Nicholls was the trainer responsible for big victories, with the 2019 encounter particularly interesting. Before the race there was much anticipation for the Colin Tizzard-trained Lostintranslation, but a slow start meant he fell away, allowing Clan des Obeaux to retain his title on a particularly cold Boxing Day.
2017 – Might Bite
It takes a lot to come back from a big fall in terms of recovery and momentum. Almost a year on from a final hurdle drop in Kempton, Might Bite was back and alongside Nicky Henderson picked up the 2017 King George. Henderson was full of praise for his then eight-year-old, saying the performance was worthy of first place: “He is good to watch. You could enjoy watching horses like him all day and night.” He said: “He loves all the showmanship that goes with it and he likes to jump like that and boss it and say, ‘Look at me'.
“The nice thing was that he handled the ground. We have our little scheme which is try not to press before the last. Don't let him know that is the last then you can go for your life after it.”