Owner John Hales has previous form when it comes to the King George VI Chase and he’s hoping that Politologue can give him plenty to cheer in the 2018’s Boxing Day spectacle. He’s previously enjoyed success in the Kempton contest with One Man, who was victorious twice in the race in 1996.
The card was re-arranged due to unsuitable conditions at the Sunbury-on-Thames track and was instead held at Sandown Park in January but that upheaval couldn’t prevent the Irish-bred star from finishing in front and Hales is hoping that Politologue can bring him further success in this year’s renewal.
Politologue has enjoyed a successful chasing career, winning eight of his 13 starts and the 7-year old has been priced up at around 8-1 to end the calendar year on a high. The Paul Nicholls trained runner was victorious at the track in 2017, winning the Grade 2 Desert Orchid Chase by an eye-catching 13 lengths from the David Pipe trained Vaniteux. The favourite was challenged by Special Tiara but the Henry De Bromhead trainer runner crashed out five from home under the stewardship of Noel Fehily.
The French-bred star has also previously enjoyed success in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter and the Mitie Noel Novices’ Chase at Ascot.
His price has been shortened following an impressive success in the Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot earlier this year with the grey keeping on nicely to enjoy a one-and-a-half length success over the Kim Bailey-trained Charbel. Nicky Henderson’s Gold Present, who made the majority of the running in the contest came home in third. It was Politologue’s second success in 2018 following success in the Grade 1 JLT Melling Chase at Aintree in April.
His success on November 24th was one of many eye-catching performances produced that day in the sport with If the Cap Fits triumphing in the Coral Hurdle and Bristol de Mai seeing off four top class rivals in the Betfair Chase at Haydock. The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained runner beat Native River by four lengths with the much-fancied Might Bite bringing up the rear. There was also some fascinating racing taking place down under with Kiwia ending a 14-year wait for Victoria trainer by securing the 2018 Ballarat Cup. The gelding was tipped for success by Oddschecker in the much-anticipated contest and proved to be a very popular winner of the race.
Connections of Politologue have previously enjoyed success in the King George with Al Ferof back in 2013 and they are relishing the opportunity to see their accomplished chaser return to the track on December 26th.
Trainer Paul Nicholls was full of praise for his charge following his success in Berkshire saying:
He was giving 7lb to the second horse. All he’ll do is keep improving. The better the race, the better he is”. He later added that “It’s his first run of the season, but he didn’t want for fitness.
Nicholls remains coy about the prospect of winning the King George although the 56-year old did admit that “Kempton is a flat track and would probably suit him…”
He is now 7-7 at right-handed tracks and will have the ideal opportunity to maintain his perfect record when taking on a talented field at Kempton. Native River is also likely to feature in the contest alongside the previous winner, Might Bite. The Betfair Chase winner Bristol De Mai may also feature whilst Altior and Thistlecrack are other household names that have been included in the betting.
Politologue is Hales’ pride and joy and the owner admitted he will be incredibly nervous when watching his charge take to the Kempton fences but despite this, he confidently proclaimed that “he has a great chance” of winning the feature race on the card. Hales has a number of runners who will taking to the track throughout December and admits that he’s also hoping to persuade trainer Paul Nicholls to send his charge to the Cotswald Chase at Cheltenham in January.
Although he’s keen to add another King George to his collection, the Gold Cup is the one trophy that continues to elude Hales and the dashing grey has also been placed in the ante-post betting for the iconic Cheltenham race. Politologue looks to set for a busy winter but connections are taking one step at a time and a triumph on Boxing Day would be another feather in his cap. A victory in the King George would also give John Hales plenty of festive cheer and cap off a memorable 2018 for connections.