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Posted 2017-12-18 18:52:39  
Exciting King George VI Chase Ahead

Last season’s RSA Chase winner Might Bite heads into the Grade One King George VI Chase later this month as the favourite to extend his winning record over fences to five victories. Nicky Henderson’s runner stepped out of novice company at Sandown on his seasonal reappearance where he scored by eight lengths to enhance his reputation as one of the leading chasers in the UK and Ireland.

Might Bite’s next assignment will be the first time he has returned to Kempton since he fell at the last fence on the same card 12 months ago in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase with the race all but sewn up. The talented chaser made up for that error at the Cheltenham Festival, though, as he proved he was the leading novice in the 3m division with victory in the RSA Chase.

The eight-year-old is available at 13/8 at Sportsbet for the 2017 King George where, if successful, he will give his trainer his third victory in the Boxing Day feature. A win against the older horses could see Might Bite cut to favouritism to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the Festival next March.

Bristol De Mai heads into the King George this year remaining in contention for the Chase Triple Crown as he was successful in the opening leg last month, the Betfair Chase at Haydock, where he blew the field away by 57 lengths.

Nigel Twiston-Davies’ runner finished seventh in the Cheltenham Gold Cup earlier in the year and then fifth in the Aintree Bowl a month later. The summer break looks to have helped the horse as he has a 100% record since returning from his summer break.

Last season’s Peter Marsh Handicap Chase winner opened his account for the season at Wetherby in the Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase where he was made to work hard for his victory as Blaklion pushed him all the way to the line, but Bristol De Mai just held off the challenge.

The victory just weeks later in the Betfair Chase was one of the most dominant Grade One performances seen for many years in Europe. Jockey Daryl Jacob chose to ride his horse positively and by the time he approached the last obstacle, he had a huge lead over his rivals, which included Cue Card and Outlander.

Bristol De Mai is 4/1 to land the second leg of the Chase Triple Crown. His connections will then earn a £1 million bonus if he can complete the hat-trick of wins in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

Defending champion Thistlecrack is expected to line up on Boxing Day in the 3m contest at Kempton where his owners will be hoping he can find his old form which saw him win the second biggest race of the season in this division in 2016.

Sadly, a leg injury in January ruled the former World Hurdle winner out of the rest of the campaign. He returned to action earlier this month at Newbury over hurdles. He was travelling well in the early stages of the race before struggling for fitness inside the final couple of furlongs.

Since switching to fences after a brilliant campaign over hurdles, Thistlecrack has only lost once over the bigger obstacles. He is 7/1 to become the first back-to-back winner of the King George since Silviniaco Conti managed the feat in 2014. A victory would give his trainer Colin Tizzard his third straight success in the race as he also saddled Cue Card to victory in 2015.
Fox Norton could make the step up in trip from 2m to 3m for the first time at Kempton for a shot at the King George, where he is 7/1 in the betting. The seven-year-old has had a lot of success in the 2m division over the last couple of years, including a victory in the Grade One Melling Chase at the Grand National meeting at Aintree back in April.

On his most recent appearance, Fox Norton was beaten by Politologue in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown where he lacked the speed to match the winner after the last fence at the Esher-track and had to settle for second place. 

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