The early favourites for the King George VI Chase

9th December 2023

The festive period is a time for joy and celebration. However, for horse racing fans, there is an added layer of excitement — anticipation for the array of prestigious races taking place across the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The four-day Leopardstown Christmas Festival (26-29 December) features seven Grade 1 contests, but the most anticipated race of the week is the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park Racecourse on Boxing Day.

The King George attracts some of the best chasers in the United Kingdom and Ireland and has an impressive role of honour, including the likes of five-time winner Kauto Star and four-time champion Desert Orchid.

There have already been some big changes in the market, with those betting on sports showing a lot of interest in one horse in particular. So, let’s take a look at the favourites for the 2023 renewal of the prestigious race.

Gerri Colombe

The horse that saw money come its way recently was Gerri Colombe, with Gordon Elliott’s stable star being slashed from outside odds of 10/1 to as short as 5/2 by the bookmakers.

The seven-year-old, who was stunned by The Real Whacker in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham, made a very impressive seasonal debut.

He was fancied as the 4/7 favourite to win the Grade 1 Champion Chase at Down Royal on November 11, and he stayed on at the death to beat Envoi Allen by a neck in dramatic fashion.

That victory has led to Gerri Colombe being considered a real contender for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and the King George looks set to be his next test en route to the Festival’s showpiece.


Bravemansgame is the defending champion of the prestigious race, as he landed Paul Nicholls his 13th overall success in the King George last year.

However, the eight-year-old has had a difficult start to the season and he has lost the top spot in the betting to Gerri Colombe as a result.

There are suggestions that Bravemansgame’s immense effort to finish second to Galopin Des Champions in the 2023 Gold Cup has taken too much out of him, as he has been held in second in his two starts this season.

The Nicholls-trained horse arguably has excuses for both the Charlie Hall Chase and the Betfair Chase, so don’t rule him out just yet.


It was disappointing when the news broke on Paddy Power News that fan-favourite Allaho would be ruled out for the season last year, which meant he didn’t get the chance to win the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival for the third time in a row.

However, the Willie Mullins-trained horse has returned from his long layoff (561 days) with a bang, as he won the Grade 2 Clonmel Oil Chase by nine lengths from Janidil on November 9.

This is a step up in trip from that two-mile, four-and-a-half-furlong contest. But, Allaho won the Punchestown Gold Cup over this distance in April 2022, and if he runs well here, Mullins could consider the Gold Cup over the Ryanair Chase in March.


Shishkin has drifted in the market after refusing to race in the recent Nirvana Spa 1965 Chase at Ascot, while Venetia Williams’ duo of L’Homme Presse and Royale Pagaille are next in line.