Today we officially got word from Paul Nicholls that stable jockey Harry Cobden will ride Cyrname in this years King George at Kempton on boxing day, with last years winning rider passing over the chance to once again sit aboard the horse he guided to glory 12 months ago in Clan Des Obeaux. Sam Twiston-Davies will now take the ride aboard the recent Down Royal Champion Chase runner-up in what looks a fantastic renewal of this historic and wonderful race.
Colin Tizzard’s Thistlecrack arrives to Kempton off the back of a race for the ages at Newbury last month, going down by a length against superstar stayer Paisley Park with Emma Lavelle’s charge declared a non-runner just a few minutes ago for today’s Long Walk hurdle at Ascot with connections reportedly unhappy with the ground.
A runner-up in this race last year, Thistlecrack looked very close to being back to his best in the epic Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury in November and if carrying a similar performance into this years King George has every right to be in the mix.
Tizzard has won this race twice in recent years with Cue Card going in under Paddy Brennan in 2015 before Thistlecracks 2016 success and the Somerset native holds a strong hand again this year with Lostintranslation arriving on the hunt for a four-timer and has won a couple of Grade 1’s in his last 3 starts with a listed win sandwiched in between. Runner-up behind Defi Du Seuil in the JLT Novices at the Cheltenham festival, we’ve all seen the rapid progression of Philip Hobbs gelding this term which certainly bodes well for the form of Lostintranslation.
This time last year Footpad went down by just half-a-length in the Grade 1 “Sugar Paddy” chase at Leopardstown Christmas festival, losing out to Simply Ned, before a broken blood vessel saw the 7-year-old finish well off the pace at the Cheltenham festival. Not seen again until November, last months winning procession in a listed race at Thurles will have pleased connections greatly and again if bringing the form of 2018 to Kempton on Boxing day we could see a win for Ireland and Willie Mullins.
La Bague Au Roi has been campaigned over shorter trips of late but looks to have a bit to find on some of these, being pulled up at Wetherby in November before finishing 3rd of 6 runners at Huntingdon a few weeks ago with Top Notch a very convincing winner for Nicky Henderson.
Venetia Williams will be hoping for as much mud as possible on Boxing day with her yard in absolutely phenomenal form of late (12 winners from last 28) as the Kings Caple handler sends out Aso, who is taking a huge step up in class here and even with Williams form coming into play this would represent a major shock.
So, has Harry Cobden made the right call in regards to Cyrname? Rated 4lbs superior to his nearest rival in the field (Lostintranslation) Cyrname famously ended Altior’s long unbeaten streak over fences in the Grade 2 1965 Christy Chase at Ascot in November.
A 17 length winner in the Grade 1 Ascot chase in Febuary, Cyrname is a name if you will that has absolutely burst onto the scene in 2019 and is many peoples favorite to land this £142,375 prize on Boxing day.
Amazingly, Cyrname was only returning from a 9 month absence due to wind surgery when getting the better of Altior last time out, meaning there could be even more to come from this incredible stayer. In truth, I’m finding it very difficult to separate Paul Nicholls latest stable star and Colin Tizzard’s former King George winner Lostintranslation.
However, looking at the form of recent races and those who attempted to run behind these two wonderful geldings of late, Waiting Patiently finished like a dream to almost upset the odds in the Tingle Creek at Sandown this month yet Cyrname was a monster 17 lengths clear of Ruth Jefferson’s 8-year-old in the Grade 1 Ascot chase in February.
As a result, I have to side with the ante-post favorite here and throw my weight behind the sensational Cyrname.
SELECTION: Cyrname (13/8 antepost)
SIDE BET: Cyrname/Lostintranslation 1-2 any order (upon request)