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Schedule – November 2015

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Boxing Day Action: 6/1 Cue Card the King George Value

Boxing Day hosts no less than twelve meetings across the UK & Ireland, with the King George being the standout contest as usual. Ten runners are set to go to post and last season’s winner, Silviniaco Conti, heads the market at 5/2. Paul Nicholls’ 8-year-old flopped on his seasonal reappearance at Wetherby but got back on track in the Betfair Chase a few weeks later and certainly arrives are as the horse with the most attractive form in the book on recent evidence.


He does, however, have something to prove with the ground drying out as the older he has gotten, the slower he has looked. That could take him out of his comfort zone somewhat, whilst giving a few of the others a potential advantage, and at the current prices it’s probably enough to put many off him. Of course, it could be a complete non-issue and his stamina should be brought into play as there will be a solid gallop on throughout, but he’s a horse I struggle to get right anyway!


Champagne Fever is the current second favourite but with 16lbs to find from Silviniaco, this task looks a tough one on paper. He is only a second-season chaser in fairness and I have always felt that he would be a perfect candidate for the 3-mile chases, but his keen-going style of racing may leave him vulnerable this time and the market is hardly allowing us much leeway with the price. It’s also worth pointing out that Willie Mullins has only had five British chasing winners in the same amount of years, that from 88 runners. It’s not exactly the most encouraging of stats.


It was great to see the real Al Ferof back at Ascot in the Amlin five weeks ago and I’ve always thought a lot of the horse. Again, however, there are trip worries in place and although the ground may help in that regard, I wouldn’t be overly keen on quotes of 6/1. That price about CUE CARD appeals, mind, and hopefully this time we’ll get to see the 8-year-old put his best foot forward. He hasn’t been “on it” in a couple of runs since returning from an injury sustained after his second in this race twelve months ago but was far from disgraced in the Betfair Chase last month when fourth behind Silviniaco Conti and further improvement could be fortcoming, particularly if he jumps better. I think this track is more suitable as well given the sharp nature and if he’s ridden properly from the front end, and not patiently as connections have been hinting towards, he might be up to going one better than last year.


Selection for the King George (26th December; 3:10 Kempton):


Cue Card Silks Cue Card – 6/1, available generally.


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