Willie Mullins responsible for nine of the 37 King George entries

Wed 6 Nov 2019

There is a strong Irish challenge or the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, with champion trainer Willie Mullins entering nine horses.

The Closutton squad include last season’s Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo, Chacun Pour Soi, Douvan and Min.

However, triple Grade One winner Kemboy is a notable absentee, with the ban on entries and declarations registered in the ownership of the Supreme Horse Racing Club still in place.

However, there is a supplemenrary entry stage on December 20, so Kemboy could yet take his chance. His connections would have to pay £10,000.

Altior, Cyrname and last year’s winner Clan Des Obeaux are among 37 entries for the showpiece and head the home team.

Unbeaten in 19 starts over jumps, the Nicky Henderson-trained Altior is the general 5-2 favourite for the traditional Boxing Day highlight, with the master of Seven Barrows having already confirmed the superstar will step up in distance this season.

Nineteen not out: Nicky Henderson spoke to Nick Luck about Altior at Sandown in April after his star had extended his winning sequence

Henderson has also entered the 2017 King George hero Might Bite and Santini, among others.

Clan Des Obeaux provided Paul Nicholls with a record 10th victory in the race 12 months ago – five of those triumphs provided by the legendary Kauto Star.

Clan Des Obeaux is on course to defend his crown following a pleasing return to action at Down Royal last weekend and could be joined by Cyrname – the highest-rated horse in training following his jaw-dropping display in the Ascot Chase in February.

Next in the betting is the Colin Tizzard-trained Lostintranslation, who could not have been more impressive on his seasonal reappearance at Carlisle last weekend.

Tizzard also has Elegant Escape, 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Native River and the 2016 King George winner Thistlecrack in the mix.

Other contenders include Noel Meade’s Road To Respect, the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Bristol De Mai, Kim Bailey’s Vinndication and Warren Greatrex’s mare La Bague Au Roi.

Watch a full replay of last year's King George

Barney Clifford, Regional Head of Racing and Clerk of the Course, Kempton Park Racecourse, said: "We are delighted to have new sponsors Ladbrokes on board and look forward to working with them for this years Ladbrokes Christmas Festival.

“It is fantastic to see such high-quality horses entered from the UK, Ireland and France, many of whom have had multiple Grade One wins.

“Clan Des Obeaux will be bidding to retain his crown but it will be no easy feat with such strength and depth amongst the entries. The possibility of Altior lining up adds something extra to this year’s renewal.

“It is the absolute highlight of Kempton Park’s Jumps calendar, so we are looking forward to a brilliantly competitive running of the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase."

Nicola McGeady, Ladbrokes’ Head of PR, said: “We couldn’t be happier with today’s entries, as a mouth-watering clash looks in store for our first year as sponsors of the King George VI Chase.

"With this race firmly on the agenda for Altior, the Nicky Henderson star is a worthy favourite but he won’t have it all his own way with the likes of Cyrname, Clan Des Obeaux, and LostInTranslation all expected to take him on.”

Ladbrokes King George VI Chase: the sponsor bets: 5-2 Altior, 5-1 Cyrname, 11-2 Clan Des Obeaux, 7-1 LostInTranslation, 12-1 Al Boum Photo, 14-1 Min, 14-1 Frodon, Road To Respect, 16-1 Thistlecrack, Might Bite, Santini, La Bague Au Roi, 20-1 Chacun Pour Soi, Douvan, Native River, Vinndication, 25-1 others.

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