The King George VI Chase is a 3 mile steeplechase at Kempton Park on December 26th. The runner’s jump over 18 fences. Kempton is a right handed turf course & the entry requirements are for 4 year olds & upwards, Mares’ receive a 7Lb weight allowance.
Named after the new King, the race was first run in February 1937 & was only run twice before World War II, as Kempton was used as a Prisoner of War camp.
Of those 2 races run before WW II, they were 4 horse races.
The 1st ever winner of the King George VI Steeplechase was Southern Hero, trained by G. Evans & Ridden by J. Fawcus, he is also the eldest horse to win the race, aged 12 years…..
The following year 1938, the race was won by Airgead Sios, an 8 year old Trained by V. Tabor & Ridden by T. McNeil.
The Early Years…
The race then took a break, due to the outbreak of WW II & was held again in 1947, when the F. Walwyn trained Rowland Roy, an 8 year old & ridden by B. Marshall won the race.
A 3 years later in 1950, Manicou, became the youngest winner of the Steeplechase, aged just 5 years old, a record which still stands today, again B. Marshall was the winning jockey & this began a dominance by Trainer Peter Cazalet, who went on to train 3 other winners – Statecraft (1951), Rosepark (1956) & Lochroe (1958).
The Fred Winter Years….
During the 1950’s saw the rise of an unknown Jockey called Fred Winter, Fred was Born in 1926, rode 923 winners during his Jockey career, including becoming a 4x Champion Jockey, Fred also won 2x Grand National’s (Sundew 1957 & Kilmore 1962), back to back Cheltenham Gold Cups (1961 & 1962) & 4x champion Hurdles.
Fred became a trainer, winning the Trainer’s Championship 8 times, including 5 in a row (1971 – 1975). Fred won the King George VI during his riding Career, in 1952 & 1954 on Halloween, following up in 1960 on board Saffron Tartan.
In 1972 & 1973 he won back to back King George VI chases as trainer of PENDIL. There is now a race named after the great man, who passed away in 2004.
In the Winter of 1961, saw the 1st abandonment of the race due to frost, this happened again the following year, for the same reason. But the race was run in 1965 & saw the Great ARKLE win, who now also has a race named in his honour.
1967 saw an abandonment due to an outbreak of Foot & Mouth disease, 1970 a blanket of snow forced the race to be called off & again in 1981, snow & frost forced another abandonment.
During the on & off spells, the race was run, seeing PENDIL, win in 1972 & 1973 for Fred Winter, 1974 & 1975 saw CAPTAIN CHRISTY win back to back races, SILVERBUCK won back to back in 1979 & 1980.
Wayward Lad(who has a Chase named after him) managed to better the back to back, winning in 1982, 1983 & 1985, a record equalled by DESERT ORCHID, Trained by David Elsworth, who took the race in 1986, 1988 & again in 1990.
A record which stood for more than a decade now there is a Desert Orchid Chase, run on December 27th….
The 1990’s saw the race abandoned in 1995 & moved to Sandown Park, due to Snow & Frost, the race went ahead on January 6th & was won by ONE MAN, ridden by Richard Dunwoody, they also repeated the feat the following year.
1991 saw French Trainer Francois Doumen win the race with THE FELLOW, following up again in 1992, he won a Trio of King George VI races in the 2000’s, with First Gold…..
In 1997 saw SEE MORE BUISINESS capture the trophy & then win again in 1999, to join the double club.
Millennium & records galore…..
The 2000’s kicked off with a French winner, FIRST GOLD, BEST MATE won for Henrietta Knight in 2002, with Sir Tony McCoy on board, Henrietta won it again the following season with EDREDON BLEU, an 11 year old……
KICKING KING won back to back in 2004 & 2005 to give Trainer Tom Taaffe & Jockey Barry Geraghty. Incidentally, the 2005 King George VI was again held at Sandown Park, as Kempton Park was being redeveloped .
Kauto Star – The Record….
On December 26th 2004, we saw KAUTO STAR, trained by Paul Nicholls & ridden by Ruby Walsh win the 1st of an amazing 5 wins in the race, 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009, equalling the record set by WAYWARD LAD in the early 80’s & DESERT ORCHID in the late 80’s, not only was the record equalled, but Kauto Star smashed it, aged 11 winning the race again in 2011, to hold the record of 5 wins, which is a record feat for Horse, Trainer & Jockey.
Kauto Star, a Bay Gelding foaled in 2000, Sire Village Star & Dam Kauto Relka. Kauto Star won an amazing 5 King George VI’s, 2 Tingle Creek Chases, was a 4 time Betfair Chase champion, won the Ascot Chase in 2008, Old Roan in 2006, Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2007 & 2009 & The Champion Chase in 2008 & 2010. By winning the 2007 Cheltenham Gold Cup, Kauto Star became the highest earning Steeplechase horse in racing history!
There is to be a specially made trophy, named after Kauto Star & awarded to the next owner’s of the Chase triple crown – Betfair Chase, King George Vi & the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Kauto Star is the only horse to have won all 3 in 1 season 2006-07.
A new decade dawns….
The race in 2010, was cancelled again due to Snow & Frost, was run on January 15th, 2011.
Nicky Henderson trained the winner LONG RUN, ridden by Mr Sam Whaley-Cohen, they went on to win again in 2012, either side of Kauto Star’s impressive 5th win.
2013 saw Paul Nicholls win his 8th King George VI with SILVINACO CONTI, with Jockey Noel Fehily on board, they retained their crown the following season to join the double club & giving Paul Nicholls a remarkable 9th King George VI victory.
2015 saw a win for Colin Tizzard, with his Champion horse CUE CARD, ridden by Paddy Brennan……
2016 Saw Colin Tizzard join the double club, with THISTLECRACK winning the race & landing Tom Scudamore a first King George…
Nicky Henderson added a 3rd King George VI with MIGHT BITE landing the race in 2017 but he had to watch on in 2018 & 2019 as the Paul Nicholls trained CLAN DES OBEAUX landed back to back wins & takes the trainers tally of King George VI victories to 12…..
Kauto Star 5
See More Business 2
Silviniano Conti 2
Clan Des Obeaux 2
Who win WIN in 2021?
The 2021 declared Runners & Trainers –
Asterion Forlonge – Willie Mullins
Chantry House – Nicky Henderson
Clan Dex Obeaux – Paul Nicholls
Dashel Drasher – J.Scott
Frodon = Paul Nicholls
Lostintranslation – Colin Tizzard
Minella Indo – Henry De Bromhead
Mister Fisher – Nicky Henderson
Saint Calvados – Paul Nicholls
Tornado Flyer – Willie Mullins
Past King George VI Chase Winners
2020 – Frodon – ( 20/1 )
2019 – Clan Des Obeaux – (11/2 )
2018 – Clan Des Obeaux – (12/1 )
2017 – Might Bite – (6-4 fav)
2016 – Thistlecrack – (11-10 fav)
2015 – Cue Card – (9-2)
2014 – Silviniaco Conti – (15/8 fav)
2013 – Silviniaco Conti – (7/2)
2012 – Long Run – (15/8 fav)
2011 – Kauto Star – (3/1)
2010 – Long Run – (9/2)
2009 – Kauto Star – (8/13 fav)
2008 – Kauto Star – (10/11 fav)
2007 – Kauto Star – (4/6 fav)
2006 – Kauto Star – (8/13 fav)
2005 – Kicking King – (11/8 fav) – Sandown Park
2004 – Kicking King – (3/1 fav)
2003 – Edredon Bleu – (25/1)
2002 – Best Mate – (11/8 fav)
Note: The 2005 renewal was staged at Sandown Park
King George VI Chase Trends
18/18 Previous winners had won a Grade One chase before
17/18 Previous winners were either French (10) or Irish bred (3)
18/18 Previous winners had raced within the last 5 weeks
16/18 Previous running’s have seen favourites placed in top 3
16/18 Previous winners finished in the top three last time out
14/18 Previous winners were Officially rated 169 or higher
17/18 Previous winners had won over 3m or further over (fences) before
15/18 Previous winners were aged 8 or younger
15/18 Previous winners had won a race over fences at Kempton before
13/18 Previous winners were winning favourites
12/18 Previous winners won last time out
9/18 Previous winners were aged 6 or 7 years-old
10/18 Previous winners had ran in the Betfair Chase (Haydock) last time out
7/18 Previous winners had won the race before
10/18 Previous winners were trained by Paul Nicholls (10 wins since 2006 – 12 race wins in total)
Nicky Henderson ( 3 ) & Colin Tizzard ( 2 ) have won the race since 2006
2/18 Previous winners were from an Irish-based yard
Did You Know ???
Only 2 horse’s since 1990 have won the King George VI Chase after finishing 3rd the previous Year . These are The Fellow who was 3rd in 1990 then won in 1991 and Kauto Star who was 3rd in 2010 then won in 2011.
2020 saw Bryony Frost become the first female jockey to win the race
Written by Rich Williams and Charlie McGreevy.
Arseonlineracing Production – ReIssued December 2021