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Order of MeritKicking King wins King George VI Chase
26/12/04
Kicking King overcame a massive last-fence blunder to score impressively in the Grade One Stan James King George VI Chase at Kempton this afternoon.

Barry Geraghty took up the running heading out on the final circuit and despite his horrific mistake at the last fence, the winner ran on to beat Kingscliff by two and a half lengths.

Azertyuiop ran a sound race on his first try at three miles and finished a length and a quarter away in third.

Kicking King, sent off the 3-1 favourite, began to draw clear after taking the seventh from home as long-time leader First Gold started to weaken.

Crack two-miler Azertyuiop gave chase but started to feel the pinch on the turn for home, and Geraghty looked to have an unassailable lead heading into the straight.

The leader pinged the next two fences, but Tom Taaffe’s charge started to tire approaching the last and Geraghty did well to keep the partnership intact as his mount ploughed through the birch.

Having survived that blunder, Kicking King then did well to avoid someone dressed as Santa who made a dash across the track in the closing stages.

Kingscliff stayed on past Azertyuiop to grab second.

A relieved Geraghty told Channel 4: "He got very tired going to the last. I went early, probably too early, and I should have waited longer.

“He missed a couple on the back straight which I didn’t really anticipate because he had jumped so well, and going down to the last he just emptied on me.

“I just grabbed hold of him. I was hanging on to his ears at one stage, but he was good. I gave him a smack and he went again – but then I nearly knocked down Santa Claus!”

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