Last updated January 9th, 2021
Compare King George odds from the top bookies and claim free bets from best bookmakers. The King George VI Chase 2021 is the betting highlight of racing’s Christmas jumps program.
King George VI Chase Odds 2021
3pm Kempton, Boxing Day, Dec 26 2021; Live on ITV; click best odds bold; Place: 1/5 odds 1,2,3.
|A Plus Tard||14/1||14/1|
|Al Boum Photo||16/1||16/1|
|Clan des Obeaux||10/1||12/1||16/1||16/1|
|The Big Breakaway||33/1||33/1||33/1|
|The Big Getaway||33/1||33/1|
Favourites in King George odds boast good betting record
The King George VI Chase on Boxing Day is the annual betting highlight of the festive season for jump racing fans across the UK and beyond, writes Noel Wilson.
A Grade 1 three-mile steeplechase, it is second only to the Cheltenham Gold Cup in prestige and attracts the best staying chasers from Britain, Ireland and France.
The first running took place in 1937, inaugurated to celebrate King George VI’s ascension to the throne, it has been a significant source of excitement for racing and betting enthusiasts since.
King George 2021: Paul Nicholls is seeking a record 13th victory in the race in 2021. He is surely to have multiple entries in a bid to break his own lofty record.
Follow the Kempton money
In recent years, favourite followers have regularly been rewarded and enjoyed particularly consistent returns in this showpiece event. Punters prepared to lump on the odds-on shots, often a high-risk strategy in steeplechases, have reaped the benefits of their convictions.
It didn’t happen in 2020 however, when Nicholls saddled four, including the first two favourites in Cyrname and Clan Des Obeaux. The latter was denied a third success in the race as the outsider of the stable’s quartet, Frodon (20/1), made all the running under a clever ride by Bryony Frost to land the yard’s 12th victory in the big one and the first for a female jockey.
Clan Des Obeaux, only third in 2020, won in 2018 and 2019 at odds of 12/1 and 11/2 respectively. The message from his victories is not to look past runners from trainer Paul Nicholls. He has won the race an incredible 12 times and counting. However just backing his horses blindly is not the answer to the punters’ conundrums as he is almost always multiply represented.
In the past 20 years, the bookies have almost always got it right. Since the turn of the century only one real outsider has succeeded in taking the top spot. In 2003, Henrietta Knight’s Edredon Bleu, a French bred horse, rewarded value seekers by coming in at 25/1. The 2/1 favourite that year, another French bred, Jair du Cochet, was never really at the races and pulled up.
Maybe it is simply the shortcomings of the British breeding system but French and Irish bred horses have much the best record. Since the distant days of four-time hero Desert Orchid (1986, 1988, 1989, 1990) only two GB bred horses have succeeded, Teeton Mill and Barton Bank.
The Irish bred Florida Pearl also managed to beat much shorter priced horses in the big race odds in 2001, succeeding at 8/1, but these generously priced winners are definitely exceptions to the rule.
Before looking at the exploits of the most famous French bred, Paul Nicholls’ five-time King George VI Chase hero Kauto Star, remember that Kicking King justified his 3/1 and 11/8 favouritism in the King George betting in 2004 and 2005 respectively and that Best Mate triumphed as 11/8 favourite in 2002. Long Run landed a second win in the race as 15/8 jolly in 2012. It was the second favourite in the odds, First Gold at 5/2, who took home the spoils in the year 2000.
Nicholls’ landed the race in 2013 with another French bred when 7/2 second favourite Silviniaco Conti outstayed the 100/30 joint-favourite Cue Card on soft ground. The French-bred followed up in 2014 as well, this time as 15/8 favourite.
Kauto Star, a King George great
In his first attempt in 2006, Kauto Star started 8/13 favourite. Partnered by Ruby Walsh, he rewarded his followers, surviving a heart-stopping blunder at the last fence, with an impressive eight length victory over the Jonjo O’Neill trained Exotic Dancer.
The following year Kauto Star enjoyed a near perfect preparation for the race, starting at odds of 4/6. Exotic Dancer once again took him on and was second favourite at 9/2 but could only manage third, being beaten for second by David Pipe’s Our Vic. Kauto Star’s victory was imperious as he cruised clear under Ruby Walsh, unhindered by jumping errors this time, putting eleven lengths between himself and his closest pursuer.
In 2008 the punting public once again put their faith in Kauto Star, despite defeat in his previous race at Haydock where his jockey Sam Thomas was unshipped after the last following a stumble. Reunited with Ruby Walsh for the big race on Boxing Day, Kauto was sent off at the relatively generous price of 10/11 having touched evens and 11/10 in places, with Alan King’s Voy Por Ustedes second favourite at 9/2. He surged clear, surviving a last fence blunder once again, to beat Jonjo O’Neill’s Albertas Run by eight lengths. Voy Por Ustedes finished a half length back in third.
In 2009 it was business as usual. The nine year old Kauto Star went off the 8/13 clear favourite with the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Imperial Commander second in the King George VI Chase betting market at 13/2. The bookmakers grimaced as Kauto Star put in a dazzling display of jumping whilst Imperial Commander’s hopes disintegrated after an early mistake that nearly had jockey Paddy Brennan exiting the side door. Kauto Star romped home beating David Pipe’s Madison Du Berlais, a 10/1 shot, by 36 lengths. Jockey Ruby Walsh barely moved a muscle as he left his rivals for dead in a record breaking fourth consecutive win that left horse racing journalists, famous for their limited vocabulary, struggling to find adequate superlatives to describe the manner of his victory.
The 2010 renewal saw Kauto Star start 4/7 favourite for the race, which was actually run in January 2011 after the weather cancelled the Boxing Day fixture. This time the young pretender Long Run (9/2), another French-bred gelding, turned champ and denied Kauto a fifth consecutive triumph. Kauto Star could only manage third. The form of the result was upheld as Long Run went on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, again with Kauto third.
In 2011, six days shy of officially turning the veteran age of 12, Kauto Star landed an historic fifth victory in the race, the first horse to achieve the feat. This time he was 3/1 second favourite as the previous year’s hero Long Run was sent off evens favourite and finished runner-up, despite the fact Kauto Star had trounced Long Run on his seasonal debut at Haydock.
With no Kauto Star to get in his way Long Run landed a second victory in the race in 2012. He was confirming the good record of favourites, beating Captain Chris (16/1) by a hard fought neck as the shortest representative in the bookies’ King George odds at 15/8.
King George becomes Desert Orchid’s favourite race
Kauto’s fourth (to be followed by a fifth) victory toppled the record of another King George Chase hero and firm favourite both with punters and the general public, the David Elsworth trained Desert Orchid. The spectacular jumping exploits of the front running grey were best showcased in this race and he won it four times.
His preference for a right-handed track meant that his artillery was better discharged at Kempton rather than at the left-handed Cheltenham where he only achieved one Gold Cup victory, his sole run in the race. He did spend years running in the Queen Mother Chase over an inadequate two-mile trip, instead of the Gold Cup. That bit of repeated bad placing by Dessie’s connections was a crime against the horse and the form book. A volume could be written on that aspect of his story alone, and if it were found in a library, it would be in the horror section.
Previously known as a speedy two miler, Desert Orchid started a 16/1 outsider in the betting for the 1986 running of the King George. There were concerns over his stamina coupled with the challenge of competing within a top quality field that included the likes of Wayward Lad, a three time winner of the Boxing Day showpiece and the favourite on the day. Ridden for the first time by Simon Sherwood, Desert Orchid not only stayed the three miles well but put in a spectacular display of jumping to make every yard of the running, beating Door Latch by fifteen lengths.
Beaten into second place by the French raider, Nupsala in 1987, Dessie as he came to be affectionately known, clocked up three consecutive victories in the race in 1988-1990.
By 1988 his starting price of 1/2 in the King George betting was justified as he beat Kildimo easily by four lengths. In 1989 he was once again odds-on when recording his third victory but, as his form over shorter trips weakened and concerns over his age grew, his followers in 1990 benefited from a relatively generous favourite’s starting price of 9/4. A fall three from home the following year, as a 12-year-old when 4/1, was the signal connections needed to announce his retirement.
King George Betting Final Thoughts
This spectacular race has become one of the most popular for everyone who enjoys jump racing. It is a highlight of the winter calendar and has been the ultimate showcase of a racing hero.
As we have seen, history shows it is a course specialist’s race so never dismiss a previous winner. If Just Bookies only looks back as far as the 1980s, the multiple winners’ roll call is a long one. In time order we have: Silver Buck (2 wins in the race), Wayward Lad (3), Desert Orchid (4), The Fellow (2), One Man (2), See More Business (2), Kicking King (2), Kauto Star (5), Long Run (2), Silviniaco Conti (2) and Clan Des Obeaux (2).
So if you are thinking of having a gamble then take a good look at the favourite in the King George betting odds and if not, is there a runner who has won the race before?