On the eternal hunt for value I see William Hill offer 40/1 about Golan Way for the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day, in their betting without Long Run
The big race is now down to 15 runners after today’s declaration stage: Kauto Stone is the only notable absentee. His stablemate (and full brother) Kauto Star is not yet a certain runner with connections reported to be delaying a decision until about a week before the race.
It’s only a hunch but I think Kauto Star’s owner Clive Smith and trainer Paul Nicholls might decide to miss the race and give the great horse his swansong in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. It will be a tough decision for them as KS would be trying to win the King George for a record-breaking 5th time. But he had a hard race when beating Long Run in the Betfair at Haydock, before which he hadn’t run for six months.
Mr Nicholls will not know for sure if Kauto Star is fully recovered and ready for Boxing Day – he’s been misled by the horse before, and by Denman, when their demeanour at home has suggested they’re rearing to go only for them to disappoint on raceday. What he now knows for certain is that he can get the horse fit enough after a long break to run to his best form. In winning the Betfair, Kauto Star ran to a Racing Post form Rating (RPR) of 180 – the highest his RPR has been in two years. He won his first Gold Cup with a RPR of 175, his second one with 185. Long Run ran to 183 RPR in winning this year’s Gold Cup and connections will know that reproduction of KS’s Betfair performance next March would see him go very close indeed to ending his career on the ultimate high.
It’s also worth remembering that Kauto Star’s connections have Master Minded in the King George too, a horse who almost certainly wouldn’t have the stamina for a Gold Cup (he might not even get home in the King George, in my opinion)
Anyway, should they choose to miss the KG, Long Run would start odds-on.
Let’s take a look at a few of the others, prominent in the betting, who are left in.
I mentioned that he is not sure to stay 3m. After his first failure over 20f at Aintree when beaten by Voy Por Ustedes (VPU), connections were convinced he was a non-stayer and said he’d be kept to 2 miles. But they had a change of mind after MM met the first decent 2m chaser he’d faced in Big Zeb. Since losing his Champion Chase crown to Big Zeb, he has run just once at 2m.
I think Master Minded’s visually breathtaking Champion Chase win in 2008 was as much a curse as a blessing for him. His official rating shot up from 170 to 186 and he simply was not that good. In VPU he’d beaten a 20f horse. MM was also at the peak of his ascendancy then – everything fell right on that one day and he’s never been able to live up to the hype, or the rating. I think too that he’s possibly a bit quirky – odd to say that about such a consistent horse, but it’s just the impression I get in some of his races.
The Arkle winner is suffering from what his trainer describes as ‘a minor cold’ which has ruled him out of Thursday’s Peterborough although Mr Hobbs is hopeful he can still get him ready for Kempton. Even if he turns up, he’d need to be in top notch condition and also show a fair bit of improvement. I believe he’ll have no trouble staying the trip.
This is another quirky horse and another over-rated one in my opinion. Since his trainer Hen Knight had Best Mate, she (and the public) has been waiting for the successor. The odds against that happening are very high but she’s had Calgary Bay, the first impostor, then Somersby. His win in a three horse race against an unfit and over-rated Aiteen ThirtyThree was his first in almost two years. I don’t think he will suddenly come good on this his first attempt at 3 miles.
Runner-up in the last renewal of the KG, he’s reported very unlikely to be ready for the race after a training setback. If he turned up 100% fit, he’d have a chance if Long Run’s jumping failed him.
Another who’d be in with a shout but his trainer was quoted last week as saying he would miss Kempton and run either at the Festival or Aintree. I suspect he’s left him in the race in case anything goes wrong with the principals.
Lat year’s Hennessy winner has talent although he’s injury prone. He’s big too, and Kempton’s sharp track might not be ideal. If he goes to post, it will be his first run on a right-handed course. Always considered best when fresh, he was beaten a long way first-time out in the Betfair and it’s hard to make a case for him.
This gelding won The Future Stars Chase at Sandown on Saturday by more than 3 lengths having led throughout. This year’s RSA winner Boston’s Angel was in third though it must be said that one seemed to run a lifeless race. Golan Way’s run before that was in a handicap hurdle at Cheltenham – he was unplaced. He ran there after refusing to race the previous time. His trainer, Sheena West, put that down to a ‘mix-up among the jockeys’, and watching the horse run, you’d never think he lacked enthusiasm.
His final outing last year was in The Mildmay Novices Chase at Aintree – a Grade 2 where he was beaten 3 lengths into third by Quito De La Roque who has won 6 of his 7 Chases (2nd to Bostons Angel in the other one). If you watch the race you’d find it hard to believe Golan Way could finish so close after two massive blunders. His jumping at Sandown last time was almost flawless and he showed the same guts and will to win as he did at Aintree, having led all the way, he saw off the runner-up before the last and was still galloping strongly passing the line.
Golan Way is only 7 and has won 3 of his 6 Chases. Kempton should suit as he has won 5 from 7 going right-handed. His talented trainer thinks a lot of him and we might learn even more if she lets him take his chance in Huntingdon’s Peterborough Chase on Thursday (he’s won both his races at that track). If he runs and wins on Thursday – 5 of his potential King George opponents are also entered – he will shorten a fair bit for Boxing Day as his penalty for Saturday means him giving weight to everything at Huntingdon. (Update: SkySports report he will not run at Huntingdon)
Assuming Long Run finishes in the first three at Kempton, Hills current offer on Golan Way effectively means he can be 4th and you’ll still get paid the place odds of 8/1. Should he run the race of his life and finish 2nd to Long Run (or, of course, win) you get paid at 40/1 for the win part.
So Golan Way (without Long Run) is my value each way bet for the King George.