Monday 15 January 2024

How many horses have won the King George VI Chase three times or more?

Established in February, 1937, the King George VI Chase was named, plainly, in honour of King George VI, who was proclaimed king the previous December, following the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII, and crowned the following May. Run over a practically flat three miles at Kempton Park, traditionally on Boxing Day, the race is now the second most prestigious conditions steeplechase in the British National Hunt calendar, behind only the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The King George VI Chase has a habit of throwing up multiple winners, with Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Captain Christy, Silver Buck, The Fellow and See More Business just some of the top-class steeplechasers with two victories to their names down the years. Not altogether surprising, winning the race three times, or more, has proved more of an 'ask', even for the best in the business. So far, just three horses have managed to do so.

The first of them was Wayward Lad, trained, like the aforementioned Silver Buck, by Michael Dickinson and arguably the best chaser never to have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He did, however, win the festive showpiece two years running, in 1982 and 1983, and after a distant, distressed third in 1984, returned to complete his hat-trick in 1985. Next up was the popular grey Desert Orchid, who won four of the five renewals between 1986 and 1990 and finished second to Nupsala in 1987. Last, but by no means least, came the record-breaking Kauto Star, the fourth highest-rated chaser in the history of Timeform, who contested the King George VI Chase six times and was victorious five times between 2006 and 2011. Following his fifth and final win, jockey Ruby Walsh paraded the 11-year-old in front of the stands, to rapturous applause, before weighing in.

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