Ladbrokes King George VI Chase
Grade 1, Kempton Park 14:30
£250,000 guaranteed,
4yo plus,
3m, Class 1  
Monday 26th December 2023

Paul Nicholls didn't offer any excuses for Bravemansgame following the Betfair Chase defeat on November 25. Despite being the 8-11 favourite among four runners, the eight-year-old, ridden by Daryl Jacob, jumped and traveled well. However, Venetia Williams' Royale Pagaille secured victory by a margin of six and a half lengths.

Nicholls, unable to identify a clear reason for the loss, remains steadfast in his original plan. Bravemansgame is still set to compete in the King George VI Chase at Kempton, with Nicholls aiming to defend the Boxing Day crown secured in the previous season.

He said: “He was not good enough on the day, it’s as simple as that.

“He jumped well, travelled well and Daryl said he thought he was going to win going to four out but he didn’t quite pick up. No excuses.

“It’s a different test at Kempton (King George), it probably suits him better there. Daryl gave him a super ride but the other one has just outstayed him from three out really.

“Kempton is his track, it won’t do him any harm to have a few runs.

“I’m not really worried about him having a hard race, he’s got a month really. To be honest with you, you can wrap them up too much in cotton wool, I’ll probably freshen him up more now rather than work him hard.

“I’ve won this race loads of times and then gone to the King George with Kauto (Star) and (Silviniaco) Conti, we’ll get him back there.

“He might want a few races to harden him up a bit. The winner is a real course specialist and we’ve no excuses, Daryl said he just got away from him three out, outstayed him.

“He’s run well and he’ll run well at Kempton.”


Jacob had taken the ride as Harry Cobden had gone to Ascot, where he rode four winners and justified the decision made on riding plans.

The trainer added: “It’s been a great day at Ascot anyway, we got the decision right about the jockey!”

The disappointment of the Betfair Chase was 2022 winner Protektorat, who started at 5-2 but did not jump with his usual fluency and was soon struggling. He finished fourth, another 13 lengths behind Corach Rambler.

The eight-year-old’s trainer Dan Skelton said: “It was just not meant to be today and I am not making any excuses.

“That just wasn’t his running, simple as that. He was hanging in the air a little bit at his jumps, but we will be back and have another go.”

Asked if the King George was possible for Protektorat, Skelton replied: “To be discussed. I don’t want to say where we’re going or not because I want to see how he is tomorrow and make a decision from there.”

After originally ruling him out, Gordon Elliott and connections might be re-considering the King George for recent Down Royal winner Gerri Colombe after recent movements in the betting market.

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Ladbrokes King George VI Chase
£250,000 guaranteed, 4yo plus, 3m, Class 1
19 entries

1 111/1- Allaho 9 11-10 W P Mullins
2 /1123- Bravemansgame 8 11-10 Paul Nicholls
3 313P-5 Conflated 9 11-10 Gordon Elliott
4 /1U25- Edwardstone 9 11-10 Alan King
5 33539- Frodon 11 11-10 Paul Nicholls
6 21225- Fugitif 8 11-10 Richard Hobson
7 /1112- Galopin Des Champs 7 11-10 W P Mullins
8 11121- Gerri Colombe 7 11-10 Gordon Elliott
9 124-32 Gran Diose 7 11-10 Louisa Carberry
10 1F1-40 Hewick 8 11-10 John Joseph Hanlon
11 13/1U- L'Homme Presse 8 11-10 Venetia Williams
12 13101- Midnight River 8 11-10 Dan Skelton
13 1/F1/9 My Drogo 8 11-10 Dan Skelton
14 11121- Pic D'Orhy 8 11-10 Paul Nicholls
15 4/145- Protektorat 8 11-10 Dan Skelton
16 5/26F- Royale Pagaille 9 11-10 Venetia Williams
17 F62/P- Shan Blue 9 11-10 Dan Skelton
18 /3121- Shishkin 9 11-10 Nicky Henderson
19 /0111- The Real Whacker 7 11-10 Patrick Neville

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