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Sunday 4 December 2016

Vautour for Kempton

Vautour, with Ruby Walsh up, on the way to winning the JLT Novices Chase at Cheltenham last March.
Vautour, with Ruby Walsh up, on the way to winning the JLT Novices Chase at Cheltenham last March.

Irish raiders Vautour and Don Cossack head the ante-post market after 32 entries were revealed for William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on St Stephen's Day.

The Willie Mullins-trained Vautour, impressive winner of the JLT Novices' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last season, is 11-4 favourite with the sponsors.

Last weekend's JNwine.com Champion Chase scorer Don Cossack, trained by Gordon Elliott, is 4-1 second best.

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Willie Mullins has the most entries with five horses in the list with Djakadam, Don Poli, Sir Des Champs and Valseur Lido completing his team from a total of nine Irish entries.

Silviniaco Conti, winner of this prestigious race for the last two years, is 6-1 to complete the hat-trick.

He is among four from the Paul Nicholls yard along with Ptit Zig, Saphir Du Rheu and Southfield Theatre.

Nicky Henderson is represented by Ma Filleule and Simonsig, who is set to return from a lengthy absence over hurdles at Aintree on Saturday. David Pipe has three - Kings Palace, Ballynagour and Dynaste - while Philip Hobbs looks to Captain Chris and Menorah.

There are also three entries from France - Pindare, Shannon Rock and Saint Palois.

"There is an international feel about this year's entries and tremendous strength in depth,"said William Hill spokesman Jon Ivan-Duke.

"The blue touch-paper has been lit and there should be festive fireworks in this year's King George."

Meanwhile, Plans for Ptit Zig have yet to finalised following his victory in the Powers Irish Whiskey Chase at Down Royal last Saturday.

The Paddy Power Gold Cup and the William Hill King George VI Chase are among the options for the Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old, who took his record over fences to five wins from seven starts with a nine-length verdict over Clarcam.

"I was really chuffed with Ptit Zig. He worried me on the way round, but he showed a turn of foot and finished well," said co-owner Barry Fulton.

"I don't think the Irish horse (Clarcam) was on song, but Ptit Zig has come out of the race well so all's good."

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