Trainer Nicky Henderson springs surprise by supplementing Santini for King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day
- The 10 entries are headed by Paul Nicholls duo Clan Des Obeaux and Cyrname
- Santini has been installed as 6-1 third favourite for the Boxing Day feature race
- Henderson has stumped up the £10,000 supplementary fee for eight-year-old
Santini, last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up, has been installed as 6-1 third favourite for Boxing Day’s Ladbrokes King George VI Chase after being unexpectedly supplemented to the race by trainer Nicky Henderson.
The eight-year-old, who was a lethargic second to Lake View Lad in the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree on his seasonal debut at the start of this month, had next been expected to run in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham at the end of next month.
But despite conceding that the speed-favouring and flat Kempton circuit is not designed for his strong stayer, Henderson said it would benefit Santini to get another race under his belt.
Trainer Nicky Henderson has stumped up the £10,000 supplementary fee for Santini (above)
‘I am the first to admit we don’t think Kempton is an ideal track for him,’ said Henderson. ‘It is not a big galloping track for a big galloping horse. But he is just so well in himself that he might as well gallop around Kempton as gallop at home.
‘He wakes up for racing. You can’t work him enough and if he had to wait another month to run, it would be so boring for him. I hope he will be a lot sharper than he was at Aintree.
‘Win or lose, within two days he’ll be bucking and screaming again. We have to finish fifth to recover our (£5,000) supplementary fee and we are up for it.’
The 10 King George entries are headed by Paul Nicholls-trained duo Clan Des Obeaux — the winner for the last two years — and Cyrname.
They also include Ireland’s Monalee, the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup fourth.
His trainer Henry De Bromhead spent Monday trying to work out whether the new logistical challenges — thrown up by travel restrictions imposed as a response to the new contagious strain of Covid-19 — still make it feasible to run.
The intention is to do so but he was awaiting clarity from the Irish horseracing authorities last night.
King George VI Chase betting: 7-4 Cyrname, 15-8 Clan Des Obeaux, 6 Santini, 15-2 Lostintranslation, 8 Monalee, 16 Real Steel, 20 Waiting Patiently, Frodon, 25 Saint Calvados, 66 Black Op.