Initial King George entries revealed
A total of 33 entries have been received at the initial entry stage for the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Monday December 26.
Cue Card: Could bid to retain title at Kempton
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 9-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).
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