Bravemansgame and Hitman dominate the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase betting for Paul Nicholls after the well-backed Galopin Des Champs was taken out of the race at the final acceptance stage.
Willie Mullins coached Galloping Des Champsan unlucky faller last fence at the Cheltenham Festival in March, was the subject of support earlier in the month despite his trainer stating he was an unlikely option for his load.
Galopin Des Champs, along with stablemate and reigning champion Tornado Flyer, were two notable absentees on Tuesday, with 13 horses remaining in the race – led by Nicholl’s impressive scorer Charlie Hall and 5-4 favorite Coral . Bravemans game.
“Earlier this month, some punters seemed convinced that Galopin Des Champs would head to Kempton for Christmas as his odds dropped to 3-1 second favourite, but unfortunately for those backers, the connections ruled King George out as an option for their Gold. Cup favourite,” said Coral’s David Stevens.
Hitman stated his case with a wide victory at Haydock earlier in the month and gives co-owner Sir Alex Ferguson a potential second interest in the race as Dan Skelton’s Betfair Chase hero Protektorat is still in the mix.
Nicholls also has a winner in 2020 Frodo and foreigner Pic D’Orhy among the remaining entries.
The winner of Saturday’s rehearsal race L’Homme Presse could yet represent Venetia Williams, while Henry de Bromhead supplies the main Irish hope in the Envoy Allenwho returned to form with Grade I success at Down Royal last month.
Winner of the Grand National Noble Yeatsanother Williams-trained runner in the Royale Pagaille and Oh, sirwho is due to run at Aintree on Saturday also features, along with Eldorado Allen, Millers Bank and Red Happy.
Joe Tizzard believes Eldorado Allen has a “serious every-way chance” in the Christmas show.
The eight-year-old has flourished over three miles so far this term, producing two stellar efforts to place in both the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby and when finishing closest to Cheltenham Gold Cup leader Hope Protectorate in the Grade One Betfair Chase at Haydock Park this month. .
Tizzard said: “He came out of Haydock really well. He ran a really nice race there and we’re delighted for him.
“He’s had two great races so far this season and what he’s shown me is that he’s doing really well now and both times he galloped across the line. I think those two runs were right up there with the best of all time, which means he’s capable of serious chances each way in these types of races.
“We’ve put the option to Kempton and we won’t make a full decision until today, but it looks really good and we’re keeping an eye on it.
“His run in the Betfair Chase looked the better of the two to me than the Wetherby, so he stepped up there. I don’t know how much improvement is left in him, but if he gets into a nice rhythm he’s a threat. Now we know he’s coming through the line well, we can get more and more aggressive with him riding wise and see how we do.”
This is Tizzard’s first season with the license in his name, having taken over from father Colin in May, and the King George is a race he has enjoyed great success running as his father’s assistant, winning two times with Cue Card (2015) and Thistlecrack (2016).
He continued: “We’ve had a lot of fun racing over the years and we’re trying to have horses to run in the top races. It is wonderful that we have a horse that is good enough and will have a good chance in it.
“It’s been a great start to the season for us. We had a terrible summer and the winter horses are doing well. We’ve just got to keep it going now, it’s still early days so we just want to keep the horses happy, healthy and performing well.”
Latest Ladbrokes odds for The Ladbrokes King George VI Chase: Bravemansgame 5-4; Hitman 7-2; L’Homme Press 4-1; Envoi Allen 5-1; Protectorate 12-1; Eldorado Allen, Frodo 20-1; Ahoy Senor, Noble Yeats, Royale Pagaille 25-1; Millers Bank 40-1; Pic D’Orhy 50-1; Red Happy 150-1.