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Page last updated at 09:34 GMT, Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Kempton confident covers will help King George go ahead


Kempton confident of King George go ahead

William Hilll King George VI Chase
Date: 26 December Time: 1505 GMT Racecourse: Kempton Park
Coverage: BBC Radio 5 live, Channel 4, live updates on BBC Sport website

By Frank Keogh

Workers at Kempton racecourse are laying 250 frost covers on Tuesday in the hope of ensuring the King George VI Chase goes ahead on Boxing Day.

Kauto Star will attempt to win the three-mile chase for a record fifth consecutive time.

Clerk of the course Brian Clifford told BBC Sport: "The forecast I have received is really encouraging.

"We are deploying the frost covers, which should give us a comfort blanket and confidence it will go ahead."

Clifford said the temperature at the Surrey track could drop to as low as -6C next Monday, just six days before the big race, but is expected to rise to 2-3C by Christmas Day.

"These covers have the ability to stop frost getting into the ground," he said.

"We will cover the take-off, landings, all the running areas. To deploy them it takes in the region of 25-30 people, four or five hours.

"Picking them up on Boxing Day, it will take 75 people to do it in two hours ready for about midday. We will leave it as late as possible."

Missed That

No snow is forecast ahead of the meeting and he added: "It's perfectly raceable and I would describe the ground as good. I'm confident at the moment, although the forecasts have been volatile," Clifford added.

Kauto Star is rated as evens favourite, with Long Run rated his nearest challenger at about 5-1. They are the only two horses among 24 declarations who are at single-figure prices.

Long Run, an impressive winner of the Feltham Novices' Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day in 2009, will be ridden by amateur Sam Waley-Cohen.

Sam's father Robert, who owns the horse, indicated the ground conditions should be acceptable.

He said: "Our preference is for it to be softer, but we'll take what it is. We don't want to see firm in the going description, but good is good."

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see also
Kauto Star makes winning return
06 Nov 10 |  Horse Racing
Commander will miss King George
06 Dec 10 |  Horse Racing
Kauto lucky after tumble - Smith
21 Mar 10 |  Horse Racing
Kauto races to King George record
26 Dec 09 |  Horse Racing

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