- Cue Card is a course and distance winner trained by Colin Tizzard. The ten-year-old won this race in 2015, but that was at the fourth time of asking, and this year’s event won’t be a walkover by any means. With 15 wins from 33 runs, Cue Card has an overall strike rate of 45.45%, and just last month he won the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park for the third time in his career. Colin Tizzard’s success as a trainer here last year was his first in the this event.
- Thistlecrack is another Colin Tizzard entry that has won over this distance, and with 12 wins from 17 races, he has a very impressive strike rate of 70.59%. This eight-year-old has won nine out of ten races that have been run over a distance of three miles or more, and three from three chase races, including a Grade 2 Novice Chase at Newbury last month. He is unbeaten for eight consecutive races, having won every contest since April 2015, so big things will be expected if he participates here.
- Josses Hill is an eight-year-old trained by Nicky Henderson. His 16 starts have seen him win seven times, for a strike rate of 43.75%, and he has placed a further six times. He beat Tea for Two into second place in a Grade 2 Chase at Huntingdon on 4th December, and he has had a total of 4 wins from 10 chase races. Henderson has won this race on two previous occasions, both with a horse called Long Run, and that was in 2010 and 2012.
- Tea for Two has won seven races from 17 runs, giving him an overall winning strike rate of 41.18%. He finished second to Josses Hill on 4th December, but hasn’t won a race since December 2015, despite having three outings. This seven-year-old is trained by Nick Williams, who will be hoping for his first success in this race.
- Valseur Lido is a French seven-year-old gelding trained by Henry de Bromhead. He has had 18 runs, and has won eight and placed in six, for a winning strike rate of 44.44%. His last race was on 5 November, when he won a Grade 1 Chase in Down Royal. The trainer has yet to win this race.
Cue Card could well turn out to be a worthy favourite if reproducing the effort that saw him win this race in 2015, but he hasn’t been the most consistent of King George VI Chase entrants, so we are reluctant to side with him at the price currently being offered.
Of far greater interest to us is Thistlecrack, from the same yard. This horse has a superb record in races of this distance, and a 100% strike rate in chases, so we will side with him to give Colin Tizzard a second win in this race.
Because this race is still almost a week away, the runners have yet to be finalised, but Ante Post rules apply, so stakes placed on any horse that does not run will be returned to bettors automatically.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Thistlecrack to win – 11/8
*Please note that odds will fluctuate as the race approaches.