33 entries have been received at the initial entry stage for the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Monday 26th December. The £200,000 Grade 1 contest, won last year by the Colin Tizzard-trained Cue Card, has attracted multiple entries from a number of domestic and Irish trainers including Paul Nicholls, Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott.
Paul Nicholls holds the leading trainer record for the 32Red King George VI Chase since its inception in 1937, boasting nine wins, five of which came with Kauto Star. Dual-winner of the race Silviniaco Conti spearheads the Nicholls entries once again this year. Nicholls also enters Saphir Du Rheu, Vibrato Valtat, Le Mercurey, Dodging Bullets and Art Mauresque.
Ruby Walsh is the most successful jockey in the race, having been victorious five times and could team up once again with the Willie Mullins-trained Vautour. Early ante-post favourite, Vautour finished runner-up in the contest last year, beaten a head by Cue Card in a photo finish.
Cue Card will be looking to defend his crown for trainer Colin Tizzard. The 10-year-old, who won the first two races in last season’s Chase Triple Crown, was third on his seasonal re-appearance at Wetherby last weekend. Colin Tizzard has also entered the exciting novice chaser Thistlecrack. The 2016 World Hurdle winner was unbeaten over hurdles last season and looked very impressive on his first appearance over fences at Chepstow last month.
Alongside Vautour, Willie Mullins has three other entries in the race, including unbeaten Arkle winner Douvan, OLBG Mares' Hurdle winner Vroum Vroum Mag and Avant Tout, who won his last start at the Punchestown Festival in Ireland. Gordon Elliott will be hoping to win his first 32Red King George VI Chase. The Ireland-based trainer has entered Don Poli, Outlander and Roi des Francs for owner Michael O'Leary.
Having missed almost all of last season through injury, 2015 Gold Cup-winner Coneygree could line-up for Mark Bradstock. The extremely talented nine-year-old has only managed one run since his victory, whilst still a novice, in the Cheltenham showpiece. More Of That is another potential runner returning from injury. The Jonjo O’Neil-trained eight-year-old beat Annie Power to win the 2014 World Hurdle and has since won two novice chases but has not been seen on the racetrack since finishing third in the RSA Chase in March.
Other trainers with multiple entries include Henry De Bromhead, Nigel Twiston Davies, and Noel Meade. Trainers with single entries include David Pipe, Gary Moore, Nick Williams, Nicky Henderson, Philip Hobbs, Rebecca Curtis, Robert Walford and Tom George.
This year’s contest will again be the second leg of the eagerly anticipated Chase Triple Crown. Jockey Club Racecourses are offering a £1 million bonus if any horse wins The Jockey Club's 3+ mile ‘Chase Triple Crown’ during the 2016/17 Jump season. The three races involved are the Betfair Chase (Haydock Park, 19th November), the 32Red King George VI Chase (Kempton Park, 26th December) and the Timico Gold Cup (Cheltenham, 17th March 2017).
This year’s renewal also marks 10 years since Kauto Star’s first victory in the King George VI Chase, which he went on to win a record five times (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011).
Barney Clifford, London Head of Racing for Jockey Club Racecourses said;
“It is fantastic once again to see such high-quality horses entered from the UK and Ireland, for which many have had multiple Grade 1 wins. Cue Card will be challenging to retain his crown but will have no easy feat with such strength and depth amongst the entries. The Crown Jewel of Kempton Park’s Jump Fixture’s, we are looking forward to another brilliant renewal of the 66th running of the 32Red King George VI Chase.”
32Red will be sponsoring the two-day festival for the first time having signed a three-year partnership with Jockey Club Racecourses. A founding authorised Betting Partner of British Racing, 32Red is already the sponsor of 45 fixtures at Kempton Park this year alone.
Tony Calvin, spokesman for 32Red, commented:
"We are obviously delighted at what is a top-class set of entries for the 32Red King George.
"Vautour is our industry-best favourite at 10-3, but when you consider such talents as last year's winner Cue Card and Douvan are available at 7-1 - not to mention a certain Thistlecrack at a clear top-price of 10-1 - it underlines what an outstanding renewal this year looks set to be as 32Red sponsor the Grade 1 prize for the first time.
"I haven't even mentioned the likes of the returning 2015 Gold Cup-winner Coneygree, or dual-winner Silviniaco Conti, who is a 33-1 chance. In fact, whatever you fancy, the 32Red odds-compilers are basically going top price about every horse in the race.”
Notes to editors
To win the 32Red King George VI Chase - the sponsors bet: 10-3 Vautour, 7 Cue Card, Douvan, 9 Coneygree, 10 Thistlecrack, 14 God's Own, 16 Valseur Lido, Vroum Vroum Mag, 25 Menorah, Blaklion, 33, Irish Cavalier, Silviniaco Conti, Don Poli, Bristol De Mai, Simonsig, Un Temps Pour Tout, Dodging Bullets, More Of That, Tea For Two, 40-1+ Others
Ar Mad (FR), Art Mauresque (FR), Avant Tout (FR), Blaklion (GB), Bristol de Mai (FR) Camping Ground (FR), Champagne West (IRE), Coneygree (GB), Cue Card (GB), Dodging Bullets (GB), Don Poli (IRE), Douvan (FR), God's Own (IRE), Irish Cavalier (IRE), Le Mercurey (FR), Menorah (IRE), Monksland (IRE), More of That (IRE), Outlander (IRE), Road To Riches (IRE), Roi des Francs (FR), Sadler's Risk (IRE), Saphir du Rheu (FR), Silviniaco Conti (FR), Simonsig (GB), Sub Lieutenant (IRE), Tea For Two (GB), Thistlecrack (GB), Un Temps Pour Tout (IRE), Valseur Lido (FR), Vautour (FR), Vibrato Valtat (FR), Vroum Vroum Mag (FR)
About Kempton Park:
Kempton Park Racecourse was established in 1878 and is London’s closest racecourse, just 16 miles from the city of London and steeped in history. Kempton Park is one of the busiest racecourses in Europe hosting quality horse racing all year round – Jump racing from October to May, and afternoon and evening Flat racing on the all-weather track throughout the year.
The highlight of Kempton Park’s racing calendar is the Grade 1 King George VI chase held every Boxing Day as part of the 32Red Winter Festival.
Kempton Park Racecourse is part of The Jockey Club, which has been at the heart of British racing for more than 260 years. Today the largest commercial group in the sport, The Jockey Club runs the largest racecourse group in the UK by turnover (2015: £174.2m), courses (15) including those at Aintree, Cheltenham, Epsom Downs and Newmarket, attendances (2015: 1.95m), total prize money (2015: £43.9m), contribution to prize money (2015: £19.9m) and quality racing (Group and Graded races); more than 3,000 acres of world-class training grounds in Newmarket, Lambourn and Epsom Downs; The National Stud breeding enterprise and education provider; and the charity for racing's people in need, Racing Welfare. Governed by Royal Charter, every penny The Jockey Club makes it puts back into British racing.