Timeform bring you their comprehensive runner-by-runner guide to the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day and pick out their 1-2-3...
"...has had a nice break since and should be spot on for this..."
Timeform on Cyrname
King George VI Chase
15:00 Kempton, Saturday
Live on ITV
1. Black Op (Tom George/ Tom Scudamore)
Looked a high-class prospect when opening his account over fences at Stratford on his return last season and was beaten only by Champ and Slate House on his next two starts. However, he failed to cope with the demands of the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury last time, when he was beaten by more than a lack of stamina, and he has something to prove now, particularly in this company.
2. Clan des Obeaux (Paul Nicholls/ Sam Twiston-Davies)
Top-class chaser who won this race for the first time in 2018 (by one and a half lengths from Thistlecrack) and bounced right back to that form when slamming stablemate Cyrname by 21 lengths in last year's renewal. He once again failed to fire in the Cheltenham Gold Cup but returned to his best after eight months off and a breathing operation when beaten two lengths in second by Bristol de Mai in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last time. That was a slog in attritional conditions, so he must prove that hasn't left a mark, but he nonetheless commands plenty of respect in his hat-trick bid.
3. Cyrname (Paul Nicholls/ Harry Cobden)
Top-class chaser who produced his best effort when inflicting a first defeat over obstacles on Altior (by two and a quarter lengths) in the 1965 Chase on his return at Ascot last year. Started favourite when below form behind Clan des Obeaux in this race on his next start and was again disappointing in the Ascot Chase, already beaten when taking a heavy fall at the last. However, he produced another top-class performance when making a winning return in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in October, proving his stamina for three miles in the process. Has had a nice break since and should be spot on for this. Sets the standard on form.
4. Frodon (Paul Nicholls/ Bryony Frost)
Likeable sort who didn't need to be at his best to win the Silviniaco Conti Chase here in January, but was right at the top of his game on his reappearance at Cheltenham in October when winning a 3m1f handicap from a BHA mark of 164. The omission of fences in the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree didn't suit him at all last time and he is the type to quickly bounce back, though this is the toughest race he will have contested.
5. Lostintranslation (Colin Tizzard/ Robbie Power)
High-class novice in 2018/19 (won the Mildmay Novices' Chase at Aintree (by six lengths from Topofthegame) and was a very good winner of the Betfair Chase at Haydock last season before disappointing in this race. Returned to form when third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on his final start last season, but has it to prove once more after disappointing in the Betfair Chase on his return.
6. Real Steel (Paul Nicholls/ Daryl Jacob)
High-class chaser for Willie Mullins last season who notably won a Grade 2 event at Down Royal and the Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles (by 14 lengths from Footpad). Sixth behind several of these in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on his final start last season, seeming to run out of stamina, and shaped as if in need of the run on his debut for Paul Nicholls in the 1965 Chase at Ascot last month. Three miles round here should be within his compass, but needs to raise his game.
7. Saint Calvados (Harry Whittington/ Gavin Sheehan)
Goes well fresh and was especially impressive on his return last season, winning a 2m handicap from a mark of 155 at Cheltenham. Produced a career-best effort to be beaten a neck by Min in the Ryanair Chase (Frodon fourth) when last seen in March start, but has stamina to prove on his first start at three miles.
8. Santini (Nicky Henderson/ Nico de Boinville)
Lacked a change of gear when only third in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase over C&D two years ago but went on to finish runner-up in that season's RSA Chase and had several of these in behind when beaten a neck in the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the latest Festival. Wasn't suited by the test of speed in the Many Clouds Chase on his return last time and may find one or two too quick round here.
9. Waiting Patiently (Ruth Jefferson/ Brian Hughes)
Developed into a top-class chaser in the 2017/18 season, winning all three starts, notably the Ascot Chase by two and three quarter lengths from Cue Card. Started 4/1 when failing to complete in the 2018 King George and didn't quite reach the heights expected of him on his next two starts. He hasn't been seen since finishing a good third to Defi du Seuil in last season's Tingle Creek, but has a good record when fresh, and could prove the forgotten horse at attractive odds.
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Timeform's analyst verdict
Cyrname proved himself over three miles when strolling home in the Charlie Hall and is taken to the turn the tables on last year's winner Clan Des Obeaux in what could be yet another Paul Nicholls domination of this contest. There are doubts surrounding quite a few so there's possibly some each-way value in Waiting Patiently, who is top class on his day and has a good record when fresh.
2. Clan des Obeaux
3. Waiting Patiently