THIS year’s King George could well be one of the great races of modern times.
WithCyrname, Lostintranslation, Clan Des ObeauxandAltiorall on track for the big Grade 1, which contender boasts the best form chance?
Paul Nicholls superstar bulldozed his way to the top of the King George market with a brilliant win over Altior on Saturday, and his claims are crystal clear.
He jumps well, has a mightily impressive cruising speed and is officially the highest rated chaser in the country.
Kempton is a right-handed track so therell be no problems on that front and hes won there over fences before.
The one question mark is the 3m trip, but he stays 2m5f well enough and looked better the further he went at Ascot.
Looks the one to beat. 9/10
Clan Des Obeaux
The second of Team Ditcheats runners has been there and done it, winning last years contest very impressively.
Harry Cobden crept into the race from off the pace and the track clearly suited him down to the ground.
His return at Down Royal was fine if unimpressive, but he wont have been fully tuned up for that.
Colin Tizzards scoopy chaser took the scalp of Bristol De Mai in Saturdays Betfair Chase, a feat no other horse has ever achieved.
The pair finished a mile clear of the 169-rated Frodon and he clearly has oodles of class oozing from every pore.
Kempton is a very different test to Haydock but theres nothing to suggest he wont like it – he jumps brilliantly, has a high cruising speed and won a Grade 1 at Aintree last season (a similar track to Kempton).
Theres no knowing how far he can go in this sphere, and it will be fascinating to see how he gets on in the toughest company hes faced so far.
Will serve it up to the favourite. 8/10
The jurys out on whether Nicky Hendersons star chaser will stay 3m, but the general consensus is that the 2m5f trip didnt beat him at Ascot.
Cyrname is just a better horse under those conditions, and with conditions set to be similar on Boxing Day, hed need to show plenty more to be considered a winning contender.
That said, Nicky Henderson has revealed his stable star wasnt 100 per cent fit and it will be very interesting to see what he can do with that reappearance run under his belt.
Of the four main contenders he has the most to prove – but theres no denying his raw ability.
Needs more but loves Kempton and is worth another go. 7/10
Footpad – 7/10 Douvan 7/10 Road To Respect– 5/10 Real Steel – 5/10