|Wednesday 21st December 2022
Bravemansgame Now a Warm Favourite for King George
The King George VI Chase at Kempton has long been the target for Bravemansgame this season, and after his victory at Wetherby in the Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase, he tops the betting to win the Boxing Day highlight.
Paul Nicholls’ runner brought his record up to five wins from six races over fences at Wetherby. He prevailed by just over three lengths in a field that included Ahoy Senor and Eldorado Allen. The seven-year-old’s sole defeat in his novice campaign came at Aintree at the Grand National Meeting. He finished as the last of four runners in the Grade One Mildmay Novices’ Chase at the Merseyside racecourse.
Nicholls has indicated that he feels Kempton will suit the horse better than Cheltenham. The Ditcheat trainer opted against running his horse in any of the leading novice chases at the Festival last season. He will be hoping the horse benefits from being much fresher than many of his rivals at the back end of the year.
John Dance and Bryan Drew own the talented chaser and they will be excited about the prospects of their horse for the Kempton feature this year. Having a runner in a race like the King George is why many people get into horse racing ownership, particularly with horse racing shares in a racing club or syndicate.
Along with having that community spirit with your fellow owners, you will get constant communication with the trainer, with the plans for your horse briefed to you throughout the season. If your runner impresses in the early stages of the campaign, they too could be entered in big races like Bravemansgame.
Nicholls Knows All About King George Success
No trainer has won the King George more times than Nicholls. He has been successful on 12 occasions, largely down to the achievements of Kauto Star. The talented chaser prevailed five times. He landed the Boxing Day contest in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011, beating the previous record which was held by Desert Orchid with four wins.
Nicholls first won the 3m contest in 1997 with See More Business. The same horse regained his crown two years later. Silviniaco Conti became a back-to-back winner for the Champion Trainer in 2014, Clan Des Obeaux scored for him in 2018 and 2019, while more recently, Frodon produced a brilliant front-running performance to win the race in 2020.
Bravemansgame’s trainer has got off to an excellent start to the 2022/23 campaign. His horses are in good form in the early stages of the season, which bodes well for him as the big races approach over Christmas
Stablemate Hitman Expected To be Biggest Rival to Charlie Hall Winner
Leading Irish chaser Allaho was set to make the trip across for the King George this year, but the two-time Ryanair Chase winner will now miss the race due to a setback. It means the strongest challenger to Bravemansgame could come from his stablemate Hitman.
The six-year-old was a comfortable winner at Haydock on his latest appearance, scoring by 11 lengths in a four-runner contest. He is now rated as high as 160 in the official ratings following that success. Nicholls’ runner finished second in two Grade One races last season. He was runner-up behind Greaneteen in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown, while later in the campaign, he chased home Fakir D’oudairies in the Marsh Chase at Aintree.
Hitman’s form over the last 12 months suggests he will be a big player at Kempton in the King George. If successful, it would be the biggest win of his career so far. The full field for the 2022 renewal will be announced in the week before Christmas. It could end up being one of the best races of the season in National Hunt racing.