Arkle, Desert Orchid, Best Mate, Kauto Star and more recently, Long Run. These are just some of the greats who’ve won both the King George VI Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same season.
And now, as we approach the crux of the National Hunt season, we’re pondering which of the current crop are best equipped to follow in those legendary footsteps.
Ladbrokes have opened the market up to a number of leading players with the likes of last year’s King George hero, Silviniaco Conti, Champagne Fever and Cue Card all priced up to do the double.
Here’s how we assess the field:
For all of his successes, Conti’s failures and near-misses have arguably drawn an equal number of column inches but could this be the campaign where it all goes right?
Would Paul Nicholls’ charge have gone on to defeat Bobs Worth had he not fallen three out when travelling well in the 2013 Gold Cup?
And can we take the eight-year-old’s unfortunate finish in last year’s Cheltenham showpiece with a pinch of salt?
It’s fair to say that the reigning King George champion hasn’t enjoyed the best of luck at Prestbury Park.
But given his pedigree and known staying power the recent Betfair Chase winner looks the bet to be on here.
Mullins’ chasers certainly don’t have the same aura as his charges over smaller obstacles but a 6L success over Alderwood on his seasonal reappearance was smart enough to suggest that Champagne Fever could be a serious contender for the big prizes over fences.
And the rest…
Last year’s King George third Al Ferof (66/1) has always been a very likeable horse and his Amlin 1965 Chase victory last time out suggests he could be approaching his best form once again.
The Nicholls second-string faces an uphill battle if he’s to topple his more illustrious stablemate but that previous appearance at Kempton last December showed he’s got plenty of guts.
With Cue Card (125/1) a distant fourth behind Silviniaco Conti in this season’s Betfair Chase, some may question the wisdom of trainer Colin Tizzard in letting his leading light have another crack at his rival.
The classy operator also bottomed out in the 2013 King George renewal but Tizzard remains confident that his charge is on track to run a big race on Boxing Day.
And finally, Dynaste (125/1) is the last on our list although that doesn’t mean we’re being wholly dismissive. His Kempton and Cheltenham form holds up well with combined figures of 152111822, including a Ryanair victory last term and a Feltham Novices’ score over the King George’s track and trip back in 2012.
David Pipe’s eight-year-old was close enough to Conti in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree back in April but can he go one better?
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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