King George VI Chase: Chantry House and Mister Fisher fly the flag for Nicky Henderson at Kempton
Seven Barrows trainer Nicky Henderson will be aiming for a first Ladbrokes King George VI Chase victory since 2017 when the Grade 1 takes centre stage at Kempton on Boxing Day.
The Lambourn handler could saddle both Chantry House and Mister Fisher for the red hot renewal as a field of 10 remain on course.
Henderson has won the three-mile contest on three occasions with Long Run (2010, 2012) and Might Bite (2017).
“We’ve had some very good days in the King George, we’ve won it and had some unlucky ones a few times and to me it’s the second most important classic chase of the season.
“It’s the classic for the first half of the season, so not surprisingly it’s a race that everybody wants to win.”
Chantry House won on his first appearance of the season, when beating The Big Breakaway in a two-horse race at Sandown last month.
Three wins came prior to that, which included winning at both the Cheltenham Festival and the following month’s Randox Grand National Festival.
“He’s been very good since his run at Sandown, but was a two horse race which proved nothing to anybody who was looking for a fault or anything,” Henderson said.
“He went round in a very respectable time considering he was doing it on his own, so you couldn’t be happier with him, while he had a spin on a racecourse which really woke him up last week.”
Mister Fisher, who will go through some more preparation, could remain on course and make his first appearance since finishing within a neck of Frodon in last season’s Oaksey Chase at Sandown.
When asked about his views on the opposition this Sunday, Henderson admitted how strong the field is.
“I’ve got respect for everyone in the field, but I still think that the Gold Cup is undoubtedly the best guide.
“You’d always say the best guide to the Derby is the Guineas and if you’re coming into this I think last year’s Gold Cup winner [Minella Indo] is the horse we’ve all got to watch.
“Frodon as we all know is a tough old devil - he’s very hard to beat and you could have a lot of solutions so it’s a great race on paper.
“Willie (Mullins) is going to come over with a couple and Asterion Forlonge is pretty smart too – I know he tipped up the other day but he ran a pretty good race.”
“He belongs to Joe Donnelly who owns Shishkin, so I know the horse quite well. He is a good horse though and I think he could be a challenger.”