Racing: Imperial Call can halt grey reign

King George VI Chase: The people's choice could prove to be only a pale version of Desert Orchid and One Man

GREY IS very much the colour of Kempton Park on Boxing Day, from the ashen faces of racegoers nursing industrial-strength hangovers, to the horses they love to back in the King George VI Chase. Desert Orchid and One Man became the most popular chasers in training on the back of their exploits in the King George, and between them account for six of the last 10 runnings. Now, there is a new white horse in town, and if Teeton Mill can follow their lead this afternoon, an Official Fan Club will not be far behind.

Like his trainer, Venetia Williams, Teeton Mill has climbed towards the peak of jumps racing at astonishing speed. Less than 12 months ago, he was merely a promising hunter chaser, but he could well start favourite this afternoon for what is to some minds the best renewal of the King George for years.

When Teeton Mill was a 5-2 chance for the Hennessy Gold Cup just a few days before he turned the race into a procession, his trainer commented that she found his odds "frightening". Given that he is the same sort of price for the most important weight-for-age chase outside the Cheltenham Gold Cup itself, Williams should perhaps be experiencing abject terror this morning. Instead, she simply says that she is "completely numb about the whole business".

What some punters - though not his trainer - seem to overlook, though, is that the bare form of Teeton Mill's Hennessy victory does not entitle him to set off at such a short price today.

"He's a grey horse and I think people look at him a bit like an iceberg," Williams says. "They assume that there are hidden depths there, but we will only find out on Saturday. He will get there fit and well, and the ground is not a worry because he has won on fast at Stratford and soft at Newbury. Softer ground would probably suit us, but equally it would suit See More Business."

It is See More Business, last year's winner, who is the main rival to Teeton Mill at the top of the betting, even though he has yet to show a similar level of form this season. Beaten by Suny Bay on his seasonal reappearance, he then won a three-runner Rehearsal Chase, but made a couple of mistakes in the process.

This, perhaps, is the key to today's race. Greys may have a good record in the King George, but winning the race is not so much a matter of colour as of style. Bold front-runners can be very difficult to reel in around Kempton's flat three miles, and as luck would have it, there is just such a horse in today's field. Not only that, he will start at a very backable price.

IMPERIAL CALL (nap 2.20) has given every indication this season of having rediscovered the form which carried him to a Cheltenham Gold Cup less than three years ago, and if See More Business attempts to match him jump for jump at the head of the field, his fencing will be subjected to the sort of examination which it rarely promises to pass. Imperial Call is the form horse of the race, running on a track which should suit him ideally, and the only mystery is how on earth he can be available at around 4-1 this morning.

The second Grade One event on the card, the Feltham Novices' Chase, is rather less tractable, with at least six of the eight runners holding perfectly credible claims on their best form. Executive King (1.10) is perhaps the value option, but there are better bets elsewhere.

Jungli (12.40), for instance, has every chance of upsetting Lawahik and Grecian Dart in the opening novices' hurdle, while his stablemate Road Racer (next best 1.45) is another worthwhile alternative to a hot favourite - Tuitchev this time - in the handicap hurdle. Road Racer ran very well until two flights out on his reappearance in the William Hill Handicap Hurdle earlier this month, and on his previous start was second in a Grade Two race over today's course and distance.

Dines will be a short price for the remaining televised event from Kempton, but there is a bonus for viewers in the shape of the Denny Gold Medal Novices' Chase from Leopardstown. Promalee, one of Ireland best novices, will attempt to win for the fourth time in as many completed starts.

general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before