William Hill King George Entries Revealed This Week!
William Hill bookmakers and Kempton Park are gearing up for a first glimpse of the possible field of contenders for the William Hill King George VI Chase when the first round of entries are revealed at noon on Wednesday, with a stellar field anticipated for the £180,000 Grade One event.
The highlight of the William Hill Winter Festival looks to be spearheaded by last season's spectacular 12-length winner Long Run, who is currently odds-on 4-5 favourite with the sponsors to defend his title, and preparations are going well for a repeat assault on the Boxing Day showpiece.
Trainer Nicky Henderson commented, "He's most certainly on target for a second King George, everything's gone great, he's big, strong and well, he's struggled with the weather a little bit, it being so dry, but, whatever happens at Haydock, the objective is the King George - so far so good!"
Riverside Theatre, a gallant second to Long Run last season when providing Henderson with a spectacular King George one-two, missed Cheltenham through injury, but the Seven Barrows handler hasn't completely ruled out a Boxing Day outing, commenting, "He has only just come back into light work this week, so as much as I'd like to get him to the King George, I only have just over a month and it's not realistic.
I'm very happy where I've got to with him at the moment, but I'm not sure it's going to get him to the King George in time. Our principle objective is the Ryanair, which it was last year. He certainly wouldn't get a run in before the King George, and therefore I think it's unlikely that he'd make his debut for the season in the King George"
Master Minded (quoted at 7-1 with the sponsors) could fly the colours of one synonymous with the William Hill King George - Kauto Star - in receiving the baton from his elder stable mate. Owner Clive Smith commented on his recent Aintree run, "He's come out very well, he wasn't really correct for the race although he's come on a lot and the race will not have done him any harm"
"We think Kempton will suit him, we feel he's slightly better right-handed, and if the going's about right it'll be okay for him"
Smith hadn't ruled out future options post-Haydock for Kauto Star (14-1), "He's been a remarkable horse, he always looks very well and trains very well, he's a very enthusiastic horse, he's looking very very good. It's a very strong race at Haydock actually, there are a lot of good entries but I'm sure he'll do okay"
"That will tell us so much, if he was very close we'd be very happy, if he really wasn't enthusiastic about the run, for any reason, we'd think about retirement. But we feel he's nothing like that, he's looking very well, I think he retains a lot of his ability, so we'll see what happens"
Joining these already established stars could be a whole host of pretenders to the King George crown with numerous younger up-and-coming chasers taking to the stage to make for a potentially mouth-watering line-up.
Arkle hero Captain Chris (7-1), winner of a Grade Two contest at Kempton last season, could be one of a trio of entries for Philip Hobbs alongside Jewson runner-up Wishfull Thinking (10-1), with Racing Post Chase winner Quinz also an option. On Captain Chris' recent seasonal return at Exeter, Philip Hobbs commented, 'He's fine, he'll run again before the King George plans are very fluid at the moment, Wishfull Thinking will be entered, but he'll run in the Paddy Power so which way he goes after that I'm not sure. Even Quinz is a possibility but he'll run before'.
Charlie Hall Chase winner Weird Al (12-1) is likely to swerve the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury, with trainer Donald McCain including the William Hill King George as a possibility. The Grand National-winning handler said, 'He's in grand shape, he may well go to Haydock and then we'll consider Kempton afterwards'.
Captain Chris could face old adversary Medermit (16-1), winner of the Haldon Gold Cup, on Boxing Day with Alan King keen on stepping the seven-year-old up in trip, plus Time For Rupert (14-1), runner-up to Big Buck's in the 2010 World Hurdle and second to Weird Al at Wetherby on his seasonal return, could also star amongst a superb initial field of contenders when the race begins to shape up this Wednesday 9th November.
The William Hill Winter Festival takes place on Boxing Day and Tuesday, 27th December at Kempton Park. To book tickets visit www.boxingdayraces.co.uk or call 0844 579 3008.
William Hill Bookmakers and Kempton Park are offering racing fans the chance to be there at the William Hill Winter Festival for free - just follow @racingkate for more details on how to win - plus @kemptonparkrace will bring you the latest news and information directly from the course in the build-up to Boxing Day.
William Hill King George VI Chase (sponsors bet): 4-5 Long Run, 7-1 Captain Chris, Master Minded, 10-1 Wishfull Thinking, 12-1 Riverside Theatre, Weird Al, 14-1 Kauto Star, Time For Rupert, 16-1 Medermit, Sizing Europe, 20-1 Diamond Harry, Noble Prince, Somersby, 25-1 Mon Parrain, Nacarat (EW ¼ 1,2,3)