32Red King George VI Chase
|Grade 1, Kempton Park 15:15
3m, Class 1
|Monday 26th December 2016|
Defending champion Thistlecrack tops 26 contenders
The Colin Tizzard-trained Thistlecrack was a brilliant winner of the Boxing Day highlight last season and although he has not been seen in competitive action since being beaten by the ill-fated Many Clouds at Cheltenham in January, he is favourite with some bookmakers to successfully defend his crown.
In an interview for The Jockey Club's Love The Jumps podcast, Tizzard said: " We had him in first week in August, we're now nearly in November and we're just starting to go a bit faster with him."
He went on: "He's got a month of fast work and he'll be ready to run. He'll have a hurdle before we go in the King George because we can't really go there first time up.
"I feel his legs once a week now and someone else feels them every other day and they seem absolutely fine.
"So we'll treat him with no kid gloves. He will be doing all his work in the next month ready for his first race."
Might Bite enjoyed a straightforward success on his seasonal debut in the 188Bet Future Stars Intermediate Chase at Sandown on November 12.
Last season's champion staying novice put in a good round of jumping to outclass three rivals with little difficulty in the hands of Nico de Boinville.
The Nicky Henderson-trained eight-year-old asserted over the last couple of fences and justified his short odds of 4-9 favourite to score comfortably by eight lengths.
A delighted Henderson said: "It was straightforward. His jumping was great.
"He just needed a run and I think he was running a bit fresh. He settled well and he jumped beautifully. That was ideal.
"Our job is now to get him there on Boxing Day quite a lot fitter than he was today."
Jessica Harrington's Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Sizing John heads a formidable Irish squad at the first entry stage.
Willie Mullins has entered both Douvan and Djakadam, while Gordon Elliott's Outlander, the Noel Meade-trained pair of Disko and Road To Respect, and Coney Island from Eddie Harty's yard are other potential challengers from across the Irish Sea.
Mark Bradstock's 2015 Gold Cup winner Coneygree also has an entry.
William Hill King George VI Chase
£200,000 added, 4yo plus, 3m, Class 1
|Ar Mad (FR)||7||11-10||G L Moore|
|Bristol De Mai (FR)||6||11-10||N A Twiston-Davies|
|Coney Island (IRE)||6||11-10||E P Harty|
|Cue Card||11||11-10||C L Tizzard|
|Disko (FR)||6||11-10||N Meade|
|Djakadam (FR)||8||11-10||W P Mullins|
|Double Shuffle (IRE)||7||11-10||T R George|
|Douvan (FR)||7||11-10||W P Mullins|
|Fox Norton (FR)||7||11-10||C L Tizzard|
|God's Own (IRE)||9||11-10||T R George|
|Kylemore Lough||8||11-10||H Fry|
|Might Bite (IRE)||8||11-10||N J Henderson|
|More Of That (IRE)||9||11-10||Jonjo O'Neill|
|Outlander (IRE)||9||11-10||G Elliott|
|Politologue (FR)||6||11-10||P F Nicholls|
|Road To Respect (IRE)||6||11-10||N Meade|
|Sizing John||7||11-10||Mrs J Harrington|
|Sub Lieutenant (IRE)||8||11-10||H de Bromhead|
|Tea For Two||8||11-10||Nick Williams|
|Thistlecrack||9||11-10||C L Tizzard|
|Top Notch (FR)||6||11-10||N J Henderson|
|Traffic Fluide (FR)||7||11-10||G L Moore|
|Valseur Lido (FR)||8||11-10||H de Bromhead|
|Vaniteux (FR)||8||11-10||D Pipe|
|Whisper (FR)||9||11-10||N J Henderson|