As a race with royal connections the King George VI Chase certainly stands out as one to watch. Self explanatory in nature, the race was first run in 1937 to celebrate and honour the new monarch King George VI. Troubling times that they were the race was seldom run initially due to World War II which closed Kempton Park track, which is where the race was and still is held today.
The race is run over a distance of 3 miles and is for horses aged four years old or more. There are 18 fences to be navigated. The price purse is an impressive £225,000, with £128,138 going to the winner.
The King George VI takes place on December 26th each year as part of the 32red Winter Festival, and so many planning to attend there appreciate the Christmas feel to proceedings. The race is held in very high regard, with most not really placing it significantly below that of a Cheltenham Gold Cup win in terms of importance. In fact, on multiple occasions it has been bundled with both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Betfair Chase as a ‘triple’. Years back, a horse winning all three events would win a cool £1,000,000, and even now the ‘Kauto Star Trophy’ is awarded for horses achieving this feat.
Being that he had a trophy named after him, you’re right in deducing that Kauto Star is a former winner of the King George VI race, in fact that might be putting it lightly, since he won from 2006 to 2009 and again in 2011. In racing terms that’s the stuff that dreams are made of as I’m sure the jockey on each and every occasion Ruby Walsh, would attest to. Racing legend, Desert Orchid also impressed in the King George VII in his day, winning the race in 1988, 1989 and 1990.
Winner of the 2017 race was Nicky Henderson’s Might Bite. The 6/4 favourite battled to the end against 50-1 shot Double Shuffle to claim the win.