There may be no Christmas-wrapped grey in the spellbinding shape of Desert Orchid in Kempton’s Pertemps King George V1 Chase on Boxing Day. But, make no mistake, the stars are out in force for this £150,000 festive spectacular.
See More Business attempts to join Desert Orchid and Wayward Lad as the only horses to have won three King George’s. Paul Nicholls’s brilliant chaser is 5-4 favourite after an impressive re-appearance at Wetherby in October.
“A third King George would bring See More Business the recognition he deserves; it’s a pity he is not a grey,” said Nicholls. “He is a horse I can get fit at home, he looks well, his weight is spot-on and I think he is as good as ever. Stamina will be our trump card.”
That final sentence will be echoing in the thoughts of trainer Henrietta Knight as she puts the finishing touches to her two-mile champion Edredon Bleu for his first attempts at three miles.
“‘Blue’ won over two and a half miles of the course three years ago. In the King George they will go a bit steadier than in the top two mile races and he might last a bit longer,” said Ms Knight.
First Gold represents debonair French trainer Francois Doumen, successful in four King George’s with Nupsala, Algan and The Fellow (twice). “First Gold has so much ability and power that I rate him on a par with my three previous winners.
He was simply brilliant on his last run and has been flying in his big race preparation,” said Doumen.
Ireland’sbig-time chaser Florida Pearl, second to Looks Like Trouble in this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, was narrowly beaten last time. Trainer Willie Mullins said: “I was disappointed not to win with him at Punchestown but delighted that he ran such a good race.”
Watch the Parade of Champions
To celebrate the 50th running, there will be a Parade of Champions prior to the racing on 26 December.
Famous horses taking part include Desert Orchid, Teeton Mill,The Fellow and Barton Bank.
Racegoers are advised to arrive no later than 11am and the first race is at 12.40pm