BETFAIR CHASE winner Protektorat has been ruled out of the King George – but their is a new favourite for the big race.
The bookies have reported an avalanche of cash for L’Homme Presse who has now leapfrogged Bravemansgame at the top of the betting.
L’Homme Presse is the new favourite for the King George
Venetia Williams’ top-class seven-year-old is 7-4 (from 2-1) with Coral, while Paul Nicholls’ Bravemansgame has been eased out to 15-8.
The pair will face a maximum of seven rivals as the fields for Kempton on Boxing Day began to take shape at the confirmation stage.
Nicholls is also set to run Hitman and Frodon, who won the race at 20-1 under Bryony Frost back in 2020.
Envoi Allen is set to be the only Irish runner in the race after Emmet Mullins scratched his Grand National hero Noble Yeats from the line-up.
Ahoy Senor will look to let his season back on track, while Envoi Allen represents the Tizzard’s who have won the race with Cue Card and Thistlecrack.
Outsiders Royale Pagaille and Millers Bank complete the nine-runner field for the £250,000 feature.
On his decision to skip the King George with Protektorat, trainer Dan Skelton said: “The plan is the Cotswold Chase then the Gold Cup.
“He has come out of Haydock really well and looks fantastic.
“The reason for not going for the King George is that I don’t want to run him right-handed which isn’t necessarily in his favour, get beat, then get left with a rebuilding task on your hands to get him in shape for the Gold Cup.
“To win a Gold Cup I think you have got to have a very smooth preparation and I can just see a King George being an unsmooth preparation.”
The bookies have reported sustained support for L’Homme Presse in recent days, with a wet forecast over the next few days a bit boost for the chances of the dual Grade 1 winner.
Coral’s David Stevens said: “All the market momentum has been with L’Homme Presse in recent days.
“It’s not surprising that the Rehearsal Chase winner has taken over at the head of the King George betting.
“Although the 12 times race winner, Paul Nicholls, still has a very strong trio of contenders as he bids for win number 13.”