Coneygree Out of King George

December 18th, 2016 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

I was not all together surprised to learn on Sunday that Coneygree will now miss the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. I sensed all might not have been well.

Sara Bradstock, who rides him in all his work, said the horse was “not himself” on Saturday having been in “flying form” the week before. His next target will be either the Cotswolds Chase at Cheltenham or the Denman Chase at Newbury before trying to follow up his 2015 victory in the Gold Cup.

As a consequence, Cue Card is now as short as 8/11, with Thistlecrack next at 3/1.

The other news is that Josses Hill will be supplemented for the race by Nicky Henderson. The eight-year-old was a great favourite of mine before losing his way last season. Rated on 158 over fences, he has 18lb to find with Cue Card but he has twice won over an extended 2m 5f and his record at Kempton reads 2211.

Owner Alan Spence’s concern is the trip, but his dam is by Glacial Storm who is generally a profound influence for stamina. With Coneygree out of the race Josses Hill may be handed an uncontested lead, so there are plenty of sound reasons why he should be allowed to take his chance.

As for Thistlecrack, my view is that Colin Tizzard would rather aim him at the Feltham Chase. but obviously he is keeping his options in case something untoward were to happen to either horse in the next few days.

Tea For Two, who has won each of his three starts at Kempton, is holding steady around the 8/1 mark while there does not seem to be any news yet on the Irish challenge.

As I write on Sunday there is still as much uncertainty over the composition of the field as there was a week ago.

Bye for now

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