Christmas in England just isn’t the same without Kempton’s traditional Boxing Day meeting, and last year the day was postponed to January due to frost.
So, it is with extra vigour that racegoers and punters looking forward to placing a bet and getting free bets will attend or watch this year’s Kempton King George meeting on the 26th December.
The King George VI Chase is a Grade 1 National Hunt chase in Great Britain which is open to horses aged four years or older. In total, eighteen fences are jumped over the three mile course. The event was first run in February 1937, and was named in honour of the new British monarch, King George VI.
The King George VI has long been established as the second most important Championship staying chase of the season behind the Cheltenham Gold Cup which is run at Cheltenham in March.
Whereas Cheltenham’s 3 miles 2 ½ furlongs course and distance takes an awful lot of getting and relies on its contenders having plenty of stamina, Kempton’s flat track and the distance of just three miles means that it favours more inherently speedier types and there has been a long list of Cheltenham Gold Cup winners that have tried and failed to win the King George in the same calendar year.
One who managed it though is reigning Champion Long Run, who won the rescheduled King George race last January, then won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March which highlights what a versatile sort he is. He is favourite to win the race this season.
Only twelve horses have won the King George more than once, and two – Desert Orchid and Kauto Star – have won it four times. This year, Kauto Star aims to win a record fifth King George VI Chase and remains one of the bookmakers favourites.
Bookmakers have been offering odds on the race for some time, and the betting sees Long Run as favourite with Kauto Star along with Master Minded and Captain Chris next in the betting.
Bookmakers will be offering many special bets and free bets on this year’s King George.
In recent years the special bets have included offering special double odds on each horse that lines up at Kempton in the King George to win both the King George and the Cheltenham Gold Cup the following March, and bets can also be placed on how far the winner of the King George race wins by – this increases the potential winnings to the customer.
Free bets are sometimes offered by bookmakers on the race too, with some offering to give you your money back if your horse comes 2nd in the race, or if your horse falls at some time during the race.