KING GEORGE BOXING DAY 2015 Form and Speed Ratings



















We look to be in for an exciting renewal of this great race. The pace looks sure to prove generous placing the emphasis firmly on stamina. If the ground is as given by the clerk of the course, there should be no significant advantage or importantly, disadvantage, to any of the runners. Al Ferof returned to action at Huntingdon for his new trainer. Once again he showed his best when fresh. Interesting he recorded an identical RPR to that achieved on seasonal reappearances in 2014 and 2012. Al Ferof has finished third twice in the race. On both occasions he did not convince as one that saw out the trip. Ballynagour is useful at best. However, as with his stable in general, his form has been disappointing this season. Cue Card returned to action, following a corrective surgery on his breathing, a different animal. Both his RPR and FSF are career high figures. Had he been able to reproduce those figures in 2014 and 2013 he would, on paper, have won both renewals. Whilst it may sound strange, I wonder if he sees out a truly run race over three miles. More than a few pundits suggest Kempton Park is an easy three-mile track. However, standard times tend to suggest otherwise. The standard time for three-miles here is 5:58:00. The approximate time for Ascot is 5:45:00 while Newbury is 5:52:00. Neither could be described as “Easy” tracks and yet they record faster standard times. My theory is the fences here offer more of a test in jumping, hence the difference. Despite easy wins at Wetherby and Haydock Park, Cue Card may be found out for stamina in the closing stages. Don Cossack has a steadily improving profile. At Aintree and Punchestown, he proved himself versatile in Grade One races, both at this trip and a half-mile shorter. At the latter track, he thumped Djakadam by seven lengths. The Gold Cup runner-up returned an RPR just 2lb below that of his Cheltenham figure. This season, that has been reinforced with two facile wins in October and November. Don Cossack will be ridden off the pace waiting for others to wilt under what should be a demanding pace. At an age when he should produce the best form of his career, it is my belief he will take all the beating. Irish Cavalier needs to prove both stamina and the ability to get involved at the business end. Silviniaco Conti ran around 7lb below his best in the Betfair Chase. Whilst “Valid” excuses have been offered, it is debatable whether he would have beaten Cue Card, even if raising his game by 7lb. Sure to be spot-on this time round, one wonders if the toll of both victory and defeat in battles at the highest grade has, perhaps, finally told on him. Smad Place raised his RPR and FSF to a new level in the Hennessy Gold Cup. He was in control a long way from home jumping his rivals into the ground. Unlikely to have such an easy time here, he now faces Grade One performers and not handicappers. Smad Place has run ten times in Grade One races through his career. Thus far, he has placed second twice and third three times. That suggests he might be found out again. Valseur Lido is a consistent sort. However, he was put firmly in place (Though not given a hard time in the final quarter-mile) by stablechum Djakadam on his seasonal reappearance. Whilst he stayed three-miles at Punchestown in late April, it is not hard to suggest a distance around the Ryanair trip is perhaps, his optimum trip. The brilliant Vautour is another that needs to prove his staying power. In addition, his profile indicates he is at his very best when Cheltenham comes round. His three wins on right-handed tracks have been workmanlike, opposed to the brilliance shown elsewhere. His *Dosage figure is far from ideal. Vautour’s sire has Sir Des Champs and Quevega on his C.V, though the majority of his highest earners stayed up to two and three-quarter miles. His dam stayed two and a half-miles. This is the acid test and I have my doubts over the trip in a truly run race.

*Dosage displays statistical figures used to assess stamina in a horse’s pedigree.