King George VI Chase Stats and Trends

The festive period is the gift that keeps giving on the sporting front. The Premier League keeps the good times rolling with an overload of fixtures, whilst tungsten fans are treated to a three-week bonanza in the shape of the PDC Darts World Championship. Not to be left out, the National Hunt season does its bit with a deluge of quality fixtures. The pick of the bunch comes at Kempton on Boxing Day, with the annual edition of the historic King George VI Chase.

Three miles is the trip for this star-studded affair, with many of the all-time greats of the staying chase game featuring on the illustrious roll of honour, including Arkle, four-time hero Desert Orchid, and the incredible Kauto Star, who strolled to victory in the festive showpiece on no fewer than five occasions. Here, we look back at the ten editions of the race between 2013 and 2022 in an effort to pick out a few trends which may help zero in on the winner.

Age: 7-8 The Golden Window – 2013 to 2022

King George IV Age of Winner

Eight-year-olds have won 50% of the editions over this period, with 80% of winners falling into the seven or eight-year-old bracket. The two outliers were Clan Des Obeaux, who won as a six-year-old in 2018 and returned to defend his crown in 2018, and the admirable Cue Card, who had his day in the sun at nine years of age in 2015.

Top Trainers – 2013 to 2022

King George Age of Trainer

It’s fair to say that Paul Nicholls targets this prestigious event with his most talented chasers, and the multiple Champion Trainer boasts an exceptional record. With 13 wins in total, he is the most successful trainer in the history of the race and, over the 10 years in question, boasts more wins than all other trainers combined. Next best is the now-retired Colin Tizzard, with son Joe charged with improving the family’s record. English and Irish titans Nicky Henderson and Willie Mullins are the only other trainers to get on the scoreboard.

Finishing Position on Previous Start – 2013 to 2022

King George Finishing Position

Common sense would suggest that winning one of the most coveted chases of the season on the back of a poor performance would be no easy task. That theory is backed up by the trends, with five of the 10 winners having come home in front on their previous outing. 70% of winners had finished in the first three when last seen at the track, whilst none had finished outside the first five.

Route to the Race – 2013 to 2022

King George Number of Runs

Results suggest no single recognised route to King George VI Chase success, with our 10 winners running in seven different contests in their previous outing, including Novice and Intermediate events, and two Irish Grade 1s. However, the gruelling Betfair Chase at Haydock has proved the best guide, with Silviniaco Conti (twice), Cue Card, and Clan Des Obeaux all taking in that Grade 1 affair before landing this event.

Number of Runs in Current Season – 2013 to 2022

King George Previous Run

With £250,000 in total prize money and considerable prestige up for grabs, connections of the top staying chasers in the game are likely to plan the first half of the season around the Kempton showpiece, with runs in the lead-up to the race viewed merely as preludes to the main event. But how many runs does it take to elevate a staying chaser to peak condition?

Results suggest that the answer to this question is one or two. 50% of winners arrived at Kempton on Boxing Day having been sighted only once in the season to date – 90% had no more than two previous runs to their name in the current campaign. The only outlier here is the outstanding Thistlecrack, who was given a little more match practice over fences before winning this in his Novice campaign.

Other Factors: Class & Stamina of Paramount Importance – 2013 to 2022

King George charts

Proven class has been a key pointer when attempting to identify the likely winner of this race. Over the 2013 to 2022 period, all bar one King George hero had previously proven their talents by landing one or more Grade 1 events. Clan Des Obeaux is again an outlier on this trend, with his 2016 success representing his first victory at the top table.

Next to class, it also pays to side with those runners who have no concerns regarding the distance. This may not be quite the same kind of stamina test as the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but three miles around Kempton at championship pace will still expose any chinks in the staying credentials of the contenders. Eight of our 10 winners had previously won over three miles or further, with the two exceptions being Clan Des Obeaux (again) and shock winner Tornado Flyer.

Form at the track hasn’t been quite so important, with the 10 editions seeing a fifty-fifty split between those who had already posted a Kempton success and those who hadn’t. Silviniaco Conti and Clan Des Obeaux qualify having won this race in the previous season, with Might Bite, Frodon, and Bravemansgame the only runners to have previously won a race at Kempton, which wasn’t the King George VI Chase.

Fate of the Favourite

The 2013 to 2022 period saw a decent spread of winners across the odds range. Silviniaco Conti (2014), Thistlecrack (2016), and Might Bite (2017) were the only three winners to reward jolly backers. Those placing a £1 level stakes bet on the market leader would have incurred a £2.52 loss. Four other winners returned a single-figure SP, but there were back-to-back shocks in 2020 and 2021, courtesy of the successes of Frodon (20/1) and Tornado Flyer (28/1).