BLACK OP 3/1 generally – 1 POINT WIN
This looks a great race and not much separates the first four in the market.
Slate House is the current favourite but I was not convinced with his performance last time out, at Huntingdon. He will need to be much better than that showing to win this. He has always been talented but he started the season rated 135 by the handicapper and this will take a 155+ performance.
Master Tommytucker is well fancied but he is having his first try over 3 miles and it is a big step up in trip from 2m 2f, last time out. For me he lacks experience with this being only his 3rd start over fences.
Danny Whizzbang looks an out and out stayer and I am not sure a course like Kempton will suit him.
I think Jarveys Plate could be overpriced as I have always seen him as a 3 miler but I simply can’t have him ahead of BLACK OP.
BLACK OP struggled over fences last season and reverted back to hurdles mid season. He ended up running in the Stayers Hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival. They tried him again over fences this season and he now looks a different horse. He won his first start over fences and jumped superbly. He then jumped very well again at Newbury only getting beaten, just over a length to Champ. You have to look at the view of what price Champ would be, if lining up in this race and I think he would go off odds on favourite. Given the strong form behind Champ last time out, the 3/1 available looks a big price. BLACK OP has always threatened to be top class since finishing 2nd to Samcro in the Ballymore Novice Hurdle in 2018. He was also a Grade 1 winner at Aintree as a novice. BLACK OP has always shaped as if 3 miles was where he would always come into himself and with his newly adopted front running style, this season, this course should really suit. Quietly confident he wins this race. WIN.
EPATANTE 5/1 generally – 1 POINT WIN
It is nice to see a decent size field for this race. In recent years we have only had a few runners with Buveur D’Air scaring others off.
The favourite this year is Fusil Ruffles who is unbeaten in 3 starts for Nicky Henderson. Although he looks talented he did make hard work last time out.
Verdana Blue won this race last year and was a winner of the Scottish Champion Hurdle on her final start over hurdles last season. She can go well again but is having her first start of the season. When she won this race last year, she was fit as had already had 3 runs. She may need the run in my opinion.
The one I am keen on is the other Nicky Henderson trained mare, EPATANTE. I have long been a big fan of this horse and I think she could turn out to be a serious horse. She was a winner on her first two starts last season but was a bit immature on her final start in the Mares Novice Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. She pulled hard and didn’t like being amongst 24 runners. She reappeared this season at Newbury and looked a different horse. She has clearly grown up and jumped very well. She is a horse who loves a fast pace which she is sure to get here. The 7lb Mares Allowance that she gets is going to be massive, come the end of the race. I really think EPATANTE is a dark horse for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March. If she can win this race, she will go to that race with a great chance. I think she has all the talent in the world and with outrun her big odds of 5/1. WIN.
LOSTINTRANSLATION 15/8 generally – 2 POINT WIN
Six runners in this years King George and it looks fascinating race. Aso to one side and I could make a case for all runners but I am firmly in the camp of LOSTINTRANSLATION.
I will start with the rest of the field and why I have LOSTINTRANSLATION over them.
Cyrname is all the rage after beating Altior last time and deserves to be the favourite. He was also a very good winner at Ascot on his last start last season. He needs to go right handed so Kempton will be perfect. Just a year ago this horse was a tear away who would not settle in his races and pulled to hard. He used up too much energy and that as always his undoing. Paul Nicholls turned a corner last season with the horse and he stopped to pull as hard and learned to settle. He still looks like he has some quirks which will never go away, but they are nowhere near as bad as they used to be. I do rate the horse highly but I have my reservations of whether he will stay 3 miles. Given it is a longer trip they will go a bit slower and I believe it may make him pull throughout the race. For that reason and my suspicions, I am happy to take him on. I think he is the perfect 2m 5f horse but 3 miles will stretch him.
Clan Des Obeaux has a huge chance and is quite a big price given he won this race last year. He looked a picture midweek in some photos that I saw of the horse and Paul Nicholls will have him spot on for the day. He has a big chance but I think he will be outclassed by Lostintranslation.
Footpad is talented but had a bad season last year. He won his first start this season but it was hardly against world beaters. 3 miles may suit but another horse probably suited to shorter.
Thistlecrack is a serious horse but his best days are behind him. He has won this race previously and finished 2nd last season but often has trouble in the jumping department.
That leaves LOSTINTRANSLATION who has everything in horse you need for this race. He goes right handed, he stays, his jumping is exceptional and he makes lengths at his fences, he has speed as he showed last season against Defi De Seuil on a few occasions and he can be ridden however you want. If you want to up with the pace you can, if you want to drop him in behind, it really don’t matter. I really think this horse could be one of the best horses we have seen in many years. He literally has it all. I know a good horse when I see one and he is as complete as they come, when you are looking for King George and Gold Cup horses. He is only a 7 year old so has so much more improvement to come. Hopefully he will turn out to be the next superstar that I think he is. WIN.
JPW Racing Tipster