King George VI Chase 2021 Runners Guide: A look at those bidding for Kempton glory

King George VI Chase 2021 Runners: Reigning champion Frodon set for Kempton cracker.
King George VI Chase 2021 Runners: Reigning champion Frodon set for Kempton cracker.

We are all set for an epic renewal of the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, and Steve Chambers takes an early look at the runners set to do battle in the Christmas cracker on December 26...

It's the highlight of the festive period, and the 2021 King George VI Chase is set to be an epic renewal of the Grade 1 prize, as some of the premier staying chasers from the UK & Ireland do battle in what is sure to be an exceptional trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

Paul Nicholls has saddled an astonishing 12 winners of the Boxing Day showpiece during his illustrious career, and the Ditcheat handler will have a strong hand once again with the previous two winners of the race set to take their chance. Clan Des Obeaux - winner in 2018 and 2019 - is set to make his seasonal reappearance at Kempton Park, and having excelled around the right-handed track he's sure to be a leading contender for the three-mile event. A prominent figure in the King George VI Chase odds, Clan Des Obeaux will also be joined by stablemate and reigning champion Frodon, who will look to hand jockey Bryony Frost a second win in a row in the Christmas highlight.

A gutsy winner of the event 12 months, Frodon warmed up for this event with a fine win in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal earlier in the season, and having quashed any stamina worries last season then the ultra-consistent nine-year-old is sure to be a leading contender for this year's race.

Tom Taaffe's Kicking King was the last Irish-trained winner of the King George back in 2005, but the Emerald Isle are set to unleash a strong battalion at this year's running of the event and undoubtedly spearheading the Irish challenge is the reigning Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Minella Indo. Magnificent when claiming the blue riband prize at Cheltenham in March, Henry de Bromhead's class act is set to head to Kempton on Boxing Day, and while he was beaten by Frodon in that aforementioned Ladbrokes Champion Chase, he's sure to improve for the run and has to be a major player.

Willie Mullins last trained the winner of the race back in 2001 when Florida Pearl stormed to victory and the master of Closutton will unleash the exciting Asterion Forlonge, who has been in all the rage in the betting over the last ten days or so, as despite his late fall in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown, many have earmarked him a major contender here. Travelling smoothly into contention in the John Durkan, Asterion Forlonge fell when just about to take the lead, but providing that tumble hasn't taken much out of him then he can play a strong hand for team Mullins, who also has entered the likes of former Gold Cup Al Boum Photo, Ryanair Chase winner Allaho and Tornado Flyer, but their participation is certainly in doubt.

Nicky Henderson trained the likes of Long Run (twice) and Might Bite to victory and the Seven Barrows handler is set to saddle Chantry House, who was a top notch novice chaser last season - which culminated with victory in the Marsh Novices' Chase - and the JP McManus-owned star kicked off his campaign with a tidy win at Sandown in November.

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Colin Tizzard trained Cue Card (2015) and Thistlecrack (2016) to victory in this race and he could be doubly handed with Ladbrokes Trophy runner-up Fiddlerontheroof and mightily impressive Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase winner Lostintranslation set to take their chance, and both will certainly be popular amongst each-way punters.

Others that feature among the current entry list include the exciting top notch Irish duo of Envoi Allen and Fakir D'Oudairies, and the former in particular will need to bounce back from a poor run in the John Durkan, while the latter was also a well beaten fourth in that Grade 1. Saint Calvados and Paddy Power Gold Cup hero Midnight Shadow could be another duo that head to Kempton to take their chance in this contest, which is set to be one of the most enthralling renewals in recent times.

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