Thistlecrack the one for Johnson in King George clash

Richard Johnson believes the race could be run to suit Thistlecrack

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker ( Thistlecrack the one for Johnson in King George By Mark Scully 8:00PM 23 DEC 2016

RICHARD JOHNSON says he would opt to ride Thistlecrack over Cue Card in Monday's 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton.

The champion jockey admits the call would be a tough one to make but feels the promise of what may be to come from the less experienced novice makes him a more attractive prospect than last year's winner Cue Card.

Johnson also feels the make up of Monday's feature will favour the eight-year-old.

"It's a very tricky one to call, as both of Colin Tizzard's horses are obviously very good," said Johnson in his Betway blog.

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"But, with all the potential, Thistlecrack is the one that I would want to be on if he gets it all right on the day.

"For Thistlecrack, it's a bonus there's only five runners. A small field will help him as he's not going to get a rough race, and with Josses Hill and Silviniaco Conti in the field, Tom Scudamore should get a decent gallop.

"He's the one I would have to side with."

'The ground is lovely'

Kempton's clerk of the course, Barney Clifford, on Friday maintained the going description as good, good to soft in places and is expecting similar conditions to prevail on Monday.

"The forecast for tonight says a band of light rain will pass through and, with a bit of luck, we could get 2mm to 5mm," he said.

"Thereafter there is a risk of showers on Christmas Day, but on Boxing Day we're set fair with bright, sunny weather and a maximum temperature of 9C.

"We had been forecast anything up to 20mm earlier in the week but it hasn't materialised. The ground is lovely and the drop of rain will keep us where we are."

Elsewhere, officials at Leopardstown are braced for heavy rain throughout the weekend, with ground on Friday described as yielding.

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