Bristol De Mai upset Might Bite in the Betfair Chase last month by romping home to victory in what was the horse’s and trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies’ second consecutive victory at the event.
The seven-year-old won the race at Haydock by four lengths this year, a lot closer than in 2017 when he rode to victory by a staggering 57 lengths.
This was the third time Nigel Twiston-Davies has had a victory at the Betfair Chase, following Imperial Commander in 2010 prior to these back-to-back successes with Bristol De Mai. The Gloucestershire-based trainer commented after his recent success:
“When you’re the underdog and then you go and stuff them, that’s great. It’s a work of art, keeping him right.”
By winning the Betfair Chase Bristol De Mai now has the opportunity of winning its owner the £1 million bonus that is paid out to any horse that wins the Triple Crown – the Betfair Chase, King George VI Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The King George VI Chase will suit Bristol De Mai – a horse that has won eight of its 20 lifetime steeplechase races. Though Twiston-Davies will be aware his horse did head into Cheltenham as the 7/4 favourite last January only to finish third.
Should jockey Daryl Jacob ride Bristol De Mai to victory in the King George he will have to do it as an underdog again. The French horse was a 13/2 outsider to win at Haydock last month and is currently the same price as third favourite for its next race in under three weeks’ time:
The King George VI Chase is regarded as the second most prestigious chase, surpassed only by the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Expect the favourites to be trained hard and prepared well for this much-anticipated event on Boxing Day. The event dates back to 1937 and was first run on Boxing Day in 1947.
Might Bite, whom was the odds-on favourite to win the Betfair Chase, is also the current favourite for the King George. This time, Nicky Henderson’s horse is 7/2 in the King George betting 2018 despite suffering from confidence issues in its last race.
In what is expected to be a tight race, Twiston-Davies’ horse sees its odds longer than Waiting Patiently (11/2) but narrowly shorter than Native River (7/1). Though the latter is arguably not suited to the surface. However, Colin Tizzard’s horse finished runner-up in the Betfair Chase, beaten by four lengths, and has finished in the top three in each of its last 15 races dating back to October 2015, ridden by Richard Johnson in eight of its last nine outings.
Can Bristol De Mai win the King George VI? Given the horse’s form you cannot afford to write off Nigel Twiston-Davies’ horse. However, the trainer has never had a winner in this race, which has been dominated by Paul Nicholls over the past 12 years and won by both Colin Tizzard and Nicky Henderson-trained horses for each of the past three years.