Dynaste to blast King George rivals away
Nic Doggett's horse by horse guide to Boxing Day's King George VI Chase at Kempton.
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Sent off at 1/5 in a two-horse race in the Amlin 1965 Chase at Ascot, Paul Nicholls' charge made a pleasing return and jumped the last with real enthusiasm (if not total accuracy). The Dom Alco gelding was off the track for a year after winning last season's Paddy Power Gold Cup but his trainer has aimed him at this contest. Hasn't run over three miles yet (except in a point-to-point where he won one and fell) but shapes as if he will stay and the former Supreme Novices' winner rates a major player.
Martin Keighley's pride and joy was fourth in this race 12 months ago and shouldn't really be twice the price of Riverside Theatre (who he finished a length behind at Huntingdon). The problem is that he has been at his best when front-running in small fields and it appears extremely unlikely that he will get his own way out in-front with Cue Card in the race. One of the lowest-rated in the field (157), he has a stone to find with the best here and should, in reality, find life too tough.
A revelation at Haydock in the Betfair Chase, recording his highest RPR (and the highest in this field) when dictating to his rivals, three of who reoppose once again. Colin Tizzard's charge is at his best when given an attacking ride and there's no reason to expect anything different here given he has now proven his stamina over three miles. Wasn't at his best when fourth in this race last year but his jumping has improved and as long as the ground doesn't come up heavy (seems to affect his jumping), he must go close.
Made a really pleasing reappearance when second to Cue Card at Haydock, where, having travelled well, he seemed to get tired close home. David Pipe's seven-year-old is a proven stayer and also relishes testing ground; two factors that cannot be underestimated in a race that is often seen as more of a speed test. Looks capable of doing more than just holding his own at this level and, with a course and distance win to his name, the Feltham winner rates a strong player.
Dual winner of this race who has become a staple in the top Grade One races, although one whose star may be fading somewhat. Put a poor reappearance in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby behind him with a better effort at Haydock, although he was 21 lengths adrift of Cue Card at the line. Having said that, his trainer Nicky Henderson will have targeted this race at the start of the season and he can out-run his odds, especially as he handles soft ground better than some of his rivals. Visored for the first time.
Another horse who has close form links with Champion Court and co, having finished second to that horse when last seen in April. Seemed to stay this trip well enough when second to First Lieutenant at Aintree earlier that month, but the eight-year-old's best performances have undoubtedly been over shorter. Likes a flat track (three course wins) but would prefer quicker ground and looks the clear second-string of Philip Hobbs.
Still held every chance when unseating his rider in the JNwine.com Champion Chase last month, his first foray outside of novice company. Can jump slightly out to his right so this track should suit and he's not to be ignored as this three mile trip (or further) looks his optimum. Handles the ground and represents a trainer who has fared well with his runners in the UK, however he will need to be foot-perfect at his obstacles if he is to handle this hot race.
Didn't look the most likely winner on his reappearance in the Peterborough Chase when he was scrubbed along with a mile to run, but he showed great tenacity to emerge victorious. That was a feature very much in evidence during his 2012 Ryanair win and it's interesting to note that his trainer believes he has corrected some of the things which led to such a disappointing last season. However his performances (including twice in this race) suggest that three miles is too far so he looks opposable. Headgear for the first time.
Almost foot-perfect last season but seemed to be feeling the effects of his Cheltenham fall when beaten at evens at Aintree in April. Again, wasn't totally slick when third behind Cue Card at Haydock but travelled well for a long way and the change of course (more stamina sapping) was against him. Far from disgraced when second to Grands Crus in the 2011 Feltham at this track and, at just seven years old, he looks to have his best years ahead of him. Plenty to like about this 10-time winner and he's a major player.
This race has a long history of multiple winners and it might not be wise to rule out a vastly improved performance from dual winner Long Run with the visor applied.
However he has a bit to prove now and the safer bets are the three who finished ahead of him at Haydock.
Cue Card was superb that day and won't be easy to pass once again, however DYNASTE can improve past him with the benefit of that run under his belt.
David Pipe's grey is proven at the track and, with any further rain in his favour, can turn the tables.
The nimble Silviniaco Conti rates next-best, ahead of stablemate Al Ferof.
The latter is priced up for this race more on reputation than anything else and he still has plenty to prove.