A BIG change to Boxing Day’s King George race at Kempton has been officially confirmed by ITV.
The festive showpiece is the feature race of Kempton’s two-day card over the Christmas period.
Bravemansgame is favourite to win the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day
But punters will have to keep an eye on the time this year as the race will be run earlier than usual.
In a bid to avoid a clash with the packed Boxing Day football fixture list, the 3m Grade 1 will be run at 2.30pm.
The past ten runnings of the race have all taken place between 3-3.15pm.
ITV host Ed Chamberlin, who will front 18 hours of live coverage over Christmas and New Year, said the small alteration was essential in the battle for eyeballs.
He told the Racing Post: “We’ve managed to move the King George, which hopefully means people can dive into pubs or watch on screens before they go to their 3pm football matches in England.
“I’ve never quite understood why the King George used to kick off after 3pm on arguably the biggest day of football in the calendar.
“We’ll have to see how we go this year.
“We have a really great relationship with the Jockey Club where we work as partners and I’d like to think if it works this year then it would stay there.
“It all makes sense really. Hopefully, by hook or by crook, people should be able to watch it.”
Paul Nicholls currently has the market leader for the big chase race worth £142,375 to the winner.
Sponsors Ladbrokes make Bravemansgame the 6-4 favourite but have reported a surge of support for Venetia Williams’ L’Homme Presse.
Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes said: “L’Homme Presse has become the latest name to attract attention in our race.
“He has been really popular all morning with his price shortening up towards the head of the market.”
Ladbrokes King George VI Chase odds
10-3 L’Homme Presse
6-1 Envoi Allen
10-1 Noble Yeats