national hunt Racing Ambassador Mick Fitzgerald looks at the big upcoming race meetings over Christmas and picks his favourites for the King George VI Chase and the Welsh National. He also looks at the latest odds for the Gold Cup and the Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase ahead of the Cheltenham Festival.
The National Hunt season’s midwinter championship is always a thoroughly intriguing affair, but this year's King George looks particularly enticing and fans of the sport can look forward to the perfect Christmas present on Boxing Day.
A field of eight will contest a vintage looking renewal of the Grade One and while Long Run is a strong favourite at the head of the betting, public sentiment will undoubtedly ride with legendary chaser Kauto Star.
King Kauto will be back at Kempton in search of a remarkable fifth King George success and the finest National Hunt horse since the mighty Arkle will face the greatest challenge of his illustrious career. After widely being written off and with calls for his retirement ringing loudly in the ears of Paul Nicholls, Kauto Star and his masterful trainer recently proved all their doubters wrong with a spellbinding victory in the Betfair Chase last month.
There wasn’t a dry eye on course as he entered the winner’s enclosure at Haydock but the raucous ovation he received on Merseyside would be eclipsed by the celebrations at Kempton if he could regain his King George crown.