David Ord has a horse-by-horse guide to the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton and fancies a northern raider to take centre stage.
Bristol De Mai
Brilliant again in the Betfair Chase, dispelling the theory he's a mudlark, but the fact remains that his best form is all around Haydock. Beaten with a mile to run in this last season after not fencing fluently, he arrives here fresher having swerved the Bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby. At his best he'll take some passing but it's hard to be confident he'll deliver it away from the Newton-Le-Willows track.
Clan Des Obeaux
Arguably produced a career-best when fourth in the Betfair Chase and still very much unexposed as a staying chaser. There's a sneaking suspicion there's a big day or two in him but all that anticipated improvement needs to come right now if he's to further enhance his trainer's fine record in this race.
It's hardly been plain sailing for him since his win in the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup (as a novice) but there was a big step back in the right direction when third under top weight on his reappearance back at Prestbury Park. If he can come forward from that, over a course and distance he landed the 2014 Kauto Star at, then he'd look a big price. However, it is a fairly significant if.
Only beaten a length by Might Bite in this last season but that was very much his stand-out effort. Clearly three miles round here suits but this looks a warm renewal of the King George and he'll do very well to repeat last year's heroics and be so close to the winner this time around.
Won this last year before being outstayed by Native River in an epic duel for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Showed that hadn't left a mark with subsequent win at Aintree but the wheels came off when last of five in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on his reappearance. Connections feel he was unsettled by the large fences there and have been pleased with his schooling since. However, all of a sudden he has questions to answer for all he'd be very hard to beat at his best.
Only ran twice last season, winning the Denman Chase and Gold Cup, and returned with fine effort to chase home Bristol De Mai at Haydock. Clearly has the ability to win this but will need it to turn into a real stamina test and has to find a good early rhythm on a track that may not play to his strengths. Still dangerous to dismiss.
First try at three miles and if he stays then he's a player. Connections feel he will and there's hope on the pedigree too. Sound jumper and strong traveller, he has two of the key assets for a King George winner but they'll take no prisoners here and the worry is the petrol tank may begin to empty from the third last.
Tea For Two
Third in this last season and ran well behind Charbel in the Peterborough Chase last time but hard to make a convincing case for him in this stellar renewal of the race.
Won this in 2016 as a novice and looked to have the staying division at his hooves but things haven't worked out that way and yet to win since. Did run well when third in the Betfair Chase on his reappearance, finishing well having not fenced fluently. Needs to brush up in that department, and prove he can be a consistent force.
Makes his reappearance here and first appearance over three miles but he's a fascinating runner. Always held in very high regard, he's unbeaten over fences and was impressive when beating Cue Card in a Grade One at Ascot on his final start last term. Any improvement for going up in trip, and it's expected to suit, puts him bang in the mix and he's proven around this circuit, too. Strong traveller, slick jumper and classy, he screams King George.
VERDICT: A wonderful renewal of the race. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Might Bite bounce back, Native River is arguably overpriced, Thistlecrack showed signs of a revival last time while is freshness rather than Haydock the key to Bristol De Mai?
Politologue is a huge player if staying but I'm very sweet on WAITING PATIENTLY who has looked a star in the making for some time now. He makes his reappearance here but has a fantastic record fresh and it's time to turn that potential into a big-race victory.