The 2014 King George VI Chase: Four Betting.Betfair writers have their say

Will the Al Ferof colours be carried to glory in the King George?
Will the Al Ferof colours be carried to glory in the King George?

It's the showpiece event of Boxing Day racing and the betting has an intriguing look with Betfair Chase winner Silviniaco Conti top of the pile but fully six horses trading at less than double figure odds. Looking for a steer in the King George betting? Here are the views of a handful of Betting.Betfair's finest...

"What looked like a case of beating trees at Ascot a few weeks back now looks like pulling up trees: Al Ferof was, it turned out, toying with the Tingle Creek runner-up and Peterborough winner."

Keith Melrose: Why I'm backing Al Ferof

We've probably seen the best of every serious contender in this year's King George, with two exceptions: the stingily-priced Champagne Fever and the frustratingly interrupted Al Ferof. You can back the second-named of those greys, who Timeform rate 8lb higher than Champagne Fever, at twice the price.

What looked like a case of beating trees at Ascot a few weeks back now looks like pulling up trees: Al Ferof was, it turned out, toying with the Tingle Creek runner-up and Peterborough winner. The Betfair Chase winner, Ryanair winner, Charlie Hall winner will be tougher, but 7.06/1 still offers plenty of scope about a horse that's long had the feel of a King George winner in waiting.


Alan Thompson: Why I'm backing Champagne Fever

Ruby Walsh has said how difficult his decision was to miss the ride on the incredible novice chaser and Arkle favourite Vautour at Leopardstown in favour of riding Champagne Fever (and of course Faugheen) for Willie Mullins at Kempton on Boxing Day.  

While there are questions to be answered over the distance and jumping ability of Vautour, they are obviously confident of answering them and if so, the grey is going to take some beating. He deserves his place in the field, already the winner of a Champion Bumper and a very competitive Supreme Novices before just being touched off in the Arkle last year.

The Mullins team have only ever won this race once before with Florida Pearl in 2001, I think Champagne Fever could be something special and give them their second King George.


Paul Robinson: Why I'm backing Cue Card

It's simple really - I am backing Cue Card to win the King George because he has been overlooked by the market and is currently excellent value. A long-time fan of this horse, I was obviously disappointed with his run in the Betfair at Haydock but trainer Colin Tizzard remains confident that the 2013 runner-up is as good as ever.

The team believe that they have him spot-on for this race and if he can just keep in a rhythm over his fences, it will take a special animal to peg him back. I wouldn't worry too much about his collapse in the home straight last year as he was running on again at the finish and the ground should be more in his favour this time around as well.


Mike Norman: Why I'm backing Silviniaco Conti...again!

It's difficult not to just copy and paste what I wrote ahead of the Betfair Chase when detailing why I fancy Silviniaco Conti, mainly that he's the best horse in the race on official ratings, the best horse in the race on recent form, that he's a course and distance winner, and that he holds recent verdicts over the majority of his main opposition.

In fact, when you consider that Conti is officially rated 16lbs superior to second favourite Champagne Fever then you start to wonder why there isn't a bigger gulf between the market leaders in the betting currently - Conti 3.613/5, Fever 5.85/1 at the time of writing.

True, Willie Mullins' charge is on the up, while you can argue that Conti has now reached his peak, but that peak was demonstrated recently when brushing aside the likes of Menorah, Dynaste, and Cue Card in the Betfair Chase last month. And he also won this race last season as well as getting the better of Menorah and Dynaste again in the Aintree Bowl last April.

In other words Paul Nicholls' multiple Grade 1 winner is a reliable and consistent performer at the highest level - perhaps his Cheltenham Gold Cup run being his only recent disappointing effort - and he is reported to be in fantastic form by his Ditcheat handler.

The only way I can see Conti getting beat is if the ground rides a lot faster than expected because of drying ground, or if he underpeforms. Both are possibilities of course, but like Nicholls, I wouldn't swap my pick for anything in the race.


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