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Cue Card set to face 10 rivals in King George VI Chase

The Christmas highlight for racing fans is the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing day and this year’s race looks like being a thriller. Cue Card ran out a convincing winner of the Betfair Chase at Haydock last month and is favourite to follow up in the Grade 1 Chase.

The second, third and fourth at Haydock are all set to take him on again. Long Run won this race last year when just catching the game Captain Chris in very testing ground.

Nicky Henderson’s former Gold Cup winner has had problems with his jumping and that has previously proved costly over this sharp track. He put up a better display at the Lancashire track last time but has 20 lengths to make up on Cue Card.

Dynaste was closest to the winner, going down by four and a half lengths on his seasonal reappearance. Trainer David Pipe was delighted with that run and rates his chances of reversing the form on Boxing day.

Silviniaco Conti looked to be travelling as well as anything turning for home but weakened in the closing stages. Paul Nicholls has made no secret of the fact that he’d left plenty to work on and is equally confident of getting closer at Kempton.

The Ditcheat handler also has the grey Al Ferof, running in the same colours of 1995 and 1996 King George winner One Man. He made a satisfactory reappearance when beating his only rival at Ascot recently and has been aimed at this race all season.

Henderson also has a second string in Riverside Theatre, winner of the Ryanair Chase in 2011. He battled on under pressure to finish ahead of Captain Chris at Huntingdon but is not yet proven over this trip.

The pair were divided by Champion Court who appeared to be renewing his effort at the line. The field is completed by the enigmatic Menorah and Irish raiders Mount Benbulben and Prince de Beauchene.