Sun Racing ambassador Megan Nicholls talks all things Kempton, King George, Chepstow and her rides this week in her latest column

We’ve always known he was a fantastic horse and he proved it in style under a great ride from Harry.

I said beforehand he had a lot ability but is still very young – to beat that field at his age is a fantastic achievement.

He only made one small mistake early on and travelled nicely the whole way.

Turning in, Harry just sat saving for as long as he could and from the last he quickened really well.

Dad is never one for self-praise but that was his tenth King George and he deserves a huge amount of credit. He was going absolutely crazy!

Scott Marshall, who rides him at home, has done a fantastic job.

Now it’s all roads to Cheltenham. He was second in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup last year so we know he acts on the track.

He was only a novice back then and he’s much-improved now so it’s very exciting to think how good he could be. He’s beaten a really good field there and there’s going to be more to come.

Our other runner, Politologue, ran a cracker too, but just didn’t quite stay. The Ascot Chase in February or something similar could be the target now.

In the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase, Topofthegame was so good.

He just got beaten by a really tough mare in La Bague Au Roi but she was getting weight and had a lot more experience.

This was the first time our fellow had a smooth race over fences and he’s nearly won a competitive Grade 1.

In the end, I think it was greenness and inexperience that got him beat.

I reckon there’ll be plenty more to come from him and he could be a King George winner in waiting.

Buveur D’Air suffered a shock defeat in the Christmas Hurdle, but credit to Verdana Blue, who is some mare.

Nico didn’t even use his whip really and she’s clearly improving fast.

Over at Wincanton, Lorcan Williams rode a double aboard Posh Trish and Flic Au Voyou.

The one to take out of the meeting was Hugos Other Horse, who ran green in the bumper but stayed on really nicely.


KEMPTON KING Clan Des Obeaux wins the King George for Paul Nicholls and part-owner Sir Alex Ferguson


He should win a bumper and have a good future over hurdles.

Up at Wolverhampton Dark Alliance ran a blinder for me.

I just got squeezed out two furlongs from home and that’s what probably cost me the race, as I was only just beaten in second. It’s nice to see him back in good form, and that was a much improved performance.

But today it’s the Welsh National at Chepstow today and I can’t wait to see the stayers strut their stuff!

Favourite Elegant Escape ran a blinder in the Ladbrokes Trophy but it’s a big ask for him to win this off top-weight.

The one I like is Folsom Blue.  Gordon Elliott doesn’t just send them over here on a jolly and top jock Jamie Codd takes the ride which is a big plus.

His best form is on testing ground and he was unlucky in the Irish National last season so I think he’ll go really close.

The other horse that could go close is Yala Enki, who is a really tough type and should be suited by this test.

Dad’s got a few nice sorts at Chepstow and his first runner is Black Jack Kentucky.

He’s not had a start for us yet and has just taken his time a bit as he’s a bit weak. He won a point-to-point last year and is now starting to come together quite nicely.

Whatever happens he’ll improve for this but this is a good starting pointing and he’s a nice one for the future.

In the second race we’ve got Touch Kick, who runs in the white and green of Trevor Hemmings. Sam Twiston-Davies takes the ride which is great as the pair get along like nobody’s business.


BAGUE FOR LIFE La Bague Au Roi runs out a game winner of the Kauto Star at Kempton


He ran really well at Newbury last time when he was beaten by a nice horse trained by Venetia Williams and although this looks another competitive contest, he should run his race.

He’s not got a massive amount of weight and I reckon the track should suit him well.

He’s definitely improved this year.

The Grade 1 Finale Juvenile Hurdle sees Quel Destin take his chance at the top level for the first time. I love this horse – he’s so tough and always gives his all.

I sat on him last week and he was as fresh as paint and felt fantastic. He’s run a few times for us already this year and keeps coming out of his races well.

His form is working out nicely too, as the horse he beat at Doncaster won twice before and the third-placed horse also hit the target.

This is obviously a lot tougher as it’s his first attempt at Grade 1 company and there are some exciting horses up against him.

Nicky Henderson’s Adjali is clearly well-fancied and won really well at Market Rasen on his British debut.


KEMPTON SHOCK Verdana Blue beats odds-on favourite Buveur D'Air in Christmas Hurdle


We think a lot of our horse, though, and if he’s going to be a Triumph contender we’d want him to be winning this.

Truckers Lodge goes in the 2.10 and we’re hoping he can reproduce his run at the track last time where he won in a canter.

He only came to us this year and he’s had to adapt to our way of doing things. Dad’s really got to grips with him now and he was very impressive last time.

His bumper form was also good around Chepstow so he clearly likes the track and although he’s gone up 13lb, it was probably deserved.

Friday rides

I’ve got two rides at Lingfield on Friday and both have decent chances. Dutch Uncle goes in the opener, an apprentice seller. 

He’s a very good horse on his day and used to run off marks in the high nineties. 

Trainer Olly Murphy hasn’t had him very long and I’m hoping he can get back to his old level as he’s well-in at the weights with most of his rivals even without my claim. 

Whinging Willie is one I fear as his 10lb claimer means he’s also weighted quite nicely but I’m hoping my lad is that little bit too classy.

My other ride is on Little Miss Kodi, who’s a lovely little filly. She won at Kempton a couple of starts ago and seems in good heart in her work. 

She’s not been quite as good since but has run ok at the track before and I can claim off her in this contest so I definitely think she can run into the frame. 

We run Ask For Glory in the bumper at the end of the card.

He’s a horse by Fame And Glory that Tom Malone bought after he won his first start in a point-to-point very impressively.

He came to us very tired so we turned him out to grass straight away and he looks a different animal now.

Dad really, really likes him and he should make lovey three mile chaser in time.

It’s an open race with a couple of big yards represented and a few unraced sorts but we’re hoping he can go well.

Over at Kempton, Dad’s got a few runners across the afternoon.

Dynamite Dollars takes on Kalashnikov in a cracking Wayward Lad and he’ll obviously have to produce his best.

Kalashnikov is a really talented horse and he’s won both his chase starts really impressively. Maria’s Benefit is an awesome mare and she takes us on too, so it won’t be easy.

Our lad has been cracking this year though and won a Grade 1 at Sandown really well last time. We go there in great form and, touch wood, he will run a big race.

We’re taking on Altior with Diego Du Charmil in the Desert Orchid.

He will need to improve a fair bit but he has lots of talent and is a Grade 1 winner.

You can put a line through his first run of the season as he lost a shoe and struck into himself.

Altior is a brilliant horse but had a hard race last time against Un De Sceaux and this is a quick return so I’m hoping he could be vulnerable.

Owner Johnny De La Hey has got lots of runners at Kempton today and also sends Adrien Du Pont in the 3.05.

He’s a talented horse but hasn’t been the easiest.

He looked the winner at Newbury last time out turning in but didn’t find anything and maybe just got a bit tired.


KING GEORGE FULL RESULT Who won the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day?


This track should suit him much better as he has lots of tactical speed and he gets better ground now so I’m hoping he can produce a big performance.

There a couple of in-form horses and I’d be worried about Exitas with impressive young conditional Danny Mcmenamin taking off 7lb.

Malaya runs in the final race on the card and she’ll love the ground.

She was unlucky last time out when she fell but we’ve schooled her since then and she looks great again.  She’s been knocking down the door and definitely wants to run again.

Deadline Diva goes in the opener and is the first progeny of Frankel in our yard!

She’s come to us from the Flat and has run a couple of nice races over hurdles.

This is her first run for the yard but she’s never shown any signs of bad attitude and is very professional.

It’s a hot little race but she has the best Flat form and must have a good chance.

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