Guest post written by Elliot Slater
With very good reason, most of the pre-race talk concerning the forthcoming Grade 1 William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day has centred on the near legendary Kauto Star. There are however a number of up-and-coming horses prepared to try and break the run of success of the Kempton crowd-pleaser and Irish hope Sizing Europe is quietly fancied to run a very big race.
Winner of last season’s Grade 1 Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March, the Henry de Bromhead-trained gelding has always possessed a high level of ability having proved over hurdles he was nothing less than top class with his famous victory in the AIG Europe Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in January 2008.
Not all smart hurdlers successfully make the transition to the larger obstacles, but Sizing Europe has always looked a chaser and his Arkle victory, (which had been preceded by a Grade 1 victory over Osana in the feature novice chase at Leopardstown on Boxing Day last year), proved that he has what it takes to mix it with the best.
The only piece of the puzzle missing as far according to those assessing the King George VI horse racing odds is the certainty that Sizing Europe definitely stays a strongly run three miles. The eight-year-old certainly shaped well at Down Royal last month when travelling strongly for much of the contest before finding Kauto Star a little too strong over the last two fences in the JNwine.com Chase, and on a better surface at Kempton hopes are high amongst the de Bromhead team that the Alan Potts-owned gelding will see out the trip and make a real race of it with Paul Nicholls’ Kempton legend, looking for his fifth successive victory in the race.
Generally on offer at 12/1 with horse racing odds, those with doubts about Sizing Europe’s stamina might well see the price as a value each-way bet.
A broadcast journalist specialising in horse racing for more than two decades, Elliot Slater remains a keen student of the form book and of handicapping. A successful tipster, he combines his knowledge of the on and off-course betting markets with an in-depth appreciation of pedigrees and bloodlines, factors that contribute to his all round understanding of the racing industry.