The King George VI Chase is run at Kempton Park on Boxing Day each year and outside of the Gold cup it is the most prestigious chase to be held in the UK. The race is open to horses aged four years and older and is run over the three mile distance at Kempton making it one of the stellar races of the winter. Some of the most famous and well regarded horses in the history of the sport have won the King George and as well as being a massive race in its own right it also acts as a trial for the Gold Cup later in the season. The race was of course named after the British Monarch and was first run back in 1937 when it was won by Southern Hero who at 12 remains the oldest ever winner of the race.
There have been some excellent winners of the King George Chase down the years with the race proving one of the sporting highlights of the Christmas period in the UK. A number of names stand out when you look through the past winners of the race including that of Wayward Lad who won the Kempton showpiece on three occasions in the mid 80s for trainer Michael Dickinson. There is no doubt whatsoever that Wayward Lad was a class act on his best day and the same can be said of Desert Orchid who turned Kempton into a second home during his career. Dessie simply loved it around Kempton Park at Christmas as he demonstrated by winning the race a brilliant four times in five years between 1986 and 1990.
Most believed that the record of Desert Orchid would never be equalled but in the shape of the wonderful Kauto Star we have seen a horse re-write the King George record books. The Paul Nicholls horse won the race four years on the bounce between 2006 and 2009 but his best performance was still to come. The run of Kauto Star came to an end in 2010 when the younger Long Run usurped him but he bounced back in 2011 to win the race in memorable fashion at the age of 11. His most recent success came after the majority of racing fans had written him off and his fifth King George success has to be rated right up there with the best achievements in the history of the sport. The King George is one of the great races of British horse racing and the successes of Desert Orchid and Kauto Star will be remembered by sports fans for many years to come.
Recent Winners of the King George Chase
R M Power
Mrs J Harrington
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B J Geraghty
D N Russell
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