Crowning the Kempton Champions: The five best winners of the King George VI Chase

For racing fans, nothing says Christmas time like the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day. Here is Planet Sport’s take on the best ever winners of the three mile test at Kempton.

Planet Sport starts with a Pat Taaffe trained officer and a gentleman who marched to victory at Kempton on two occasions.

5. Captain Christy

They say there's beauty in imperfection and the error prone Captain Christy proved that by producing regular jumping faults in big race wins.

A 1974 Gold Cup victory showed just how game he was, nodding on landing at the final fence and then battling back to overcome the Dikler at the death.

But it is the King George that Captain Christy is most associated with, taking two wins of the Kempton Christmas-time showpiece.

The first victory was a regulation five lengths win from the hat-trick chasing Pendil. However, the 1975 King George saw Captain Christy show his true potential, obliterating the talented Bula to win by an astonishing 30 lengths.

There was a regulation error at the fourth last but Captain Christy showed that he was head and shoulders above the rest at Kempton.

4. See More Business

The first of two on the list from King George supremo Paul Nicholls (he's won the race 12 times), See More Business did the job twice in the late 90's.

The high-class gelding by Seymour Hicks cemented the relationship between the horse's owner (Nicholls' landlord) Paul Barber and the up and coming trainer.

See More Business' first King George win came in 1997, beating the Martin Pipe trained Challenger Du Lac by two lengths.

The double came in 1999 with a powerhouse victory by 17 lengths from Alan King's Go Ballistic which had the Kempton masses enthralled.

There's been plenty of winners in King George's rich history but few as quietly efficient as See More Business.

3. Wayward Lad

The early '80s were tough years in the UK with mass unemployment and the spectre of the Falklands War but Wayward Lad provided some cheer with a King George hat-trick to warm the cockles.

Famously one of the "Dickinson five" with runners from the stable filling the first five places in the 1983 Cheltenham Gold Cup, it was at Kempton where Wayward Lad really lit up.

His first win came in a 1982 thrilling three horse finish under John Francome where Wayward Lad got the better of Silver Buck and Fifty Dollars More in a game showing.

In 1983, another three horse finish looked on the cards but Wayward Lad burned off Brown Chamberlin and the Mighty Mac to win going away.

Wayward Lad showed he was anything but Wayward at Kempton, racking up the hat-trick in 1985 with a hardy win over Combs Ditch to become the first horse to win the grand yuletide race three times.

2. Desert Orchid

There are few horses to capture the public imagination more than "Dessie" who was a superstar of the late '80s jumping game.

The galloping grey only let Wayward Lad's record stand for three years before embarking on a breathtaking four King George wins.

Dessie made a mockery of the racing experts who said he wouldn't stay the three miles in the 1986 King George, destroying the field at odds of 16/1 with his soon to be trademark front running style.

The David Elsworth trained grey won three King Georges on the bounce starting from 1988, culminating in the 1990 record fourth win where he went off a far shorter 2/1 price than his first win.

A rapturous Kempton crowd roared Dessie on as he finished as he so often did at Kempton, with no competitors in sight. It would take a special horse to build on his legacy…

1.Kauto Star

King Kauto made the Kempton Boxing Day behemoth of a race his own, taking the King George a staggering five times.

The sight of Ruby Walsh flashing home in Clive Smith's green, yellow and purple silks became a regular occurrence, no more so than in the King George which he claimed for the first time in 2006.

Exotic Dancer was no mug for Jonjo O'Neill but Kauto Star put him to the sword for a first King George win by a decent eight lengths.

Kauto Star's King George winning margins tell a tale of their own, coming by 11 lengths in 2007, eight lengths in 2008, and a mind-blowing 36 lengths in 2009.

His final win in 2011 was an emotional occasion, gaining redemption for his 2010 defeat and clinching the record fifth win for Nicholls which is unlikely to ever be bettered.

"There will never be another Kauto Star - not in my lifetime. It's impossible" said Nicholls on Kauto Star's death in 2015, both going down in history as King George VI Chase royalty.

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