Racing: One Man to elevate Dunwoody

Eleven Boxing Day cards but all eyes will be on the favourite for the King George VI Chase and his record-chasing rider

When Thomas Richard Dunwoody MBE throws his leg over the hot favourite, One Man, before the main event at Kempton on Boxing Day, the leg will sport patches the colour of Christmas pudding. If the 32-year-old jockey wins the King George VI Chase he will create black marks elsewhere - on the leaves of the record book - as the first rider to win the race four times.

If anything kept Dunwoody bouncing as Perfect Pal deposited his partner on Ascot's turf on Saturday it must have been the thought that he will seldom go into a championship contest such as Thursday's with such bounteous prospects. The Irishman understands that his competitive career is unlikely to make it to the millenium and, indeed, even that is an impossibly long- range target. "It could all be finished today, tomorrow or on Boxing Day," he said. "You can never look too far ahead in this game."

In some circles it had been portrayed that Dunwoody had chosen One Man for the King George in preference to the Irish horse Sound Man (no relation), but the reality is that he has a verbal agreement with the former's connections to ride the grey all season. This bonding cannot have been difficult for the jockey if even the tiniest vestige of One Man's previous win in this race remained in Dunwoody's mind. That event, rescheduled to Sandown in January, gives his rider the chance to go into quiz literature as the only man to win the race twice in one year.

One Man was as devastating at Esher last year as much as he was disappointing in the Gold Cup. It is to the eight-year-old's advantage that he now goes for a contest that delights in recrowning its champions. Since 1973 there have been six horses who have won at least two King Georges, a feat that has not been achieved once in the Gold Cup over the same period.

The greatest of them all, of course, was another of One Man's hue, Desert Orchid, who made six consecutive appearances in the King George, winning on four occasions. Dessie further proves that age has not wearied him when he parades on Thursday just a week before his 18th birthday.

Barton Bank, the winner in 1993, will also put in an appearance (still on a competitive level), but there will be no show from the 1994 victor, Algan, who was not among the four-strong contingent that set out from Francois Doumen's Lamorlaye yard in France for England yesterday morning. "It is entirely because of the ground," the trainer said. "It's a bloody shame because he is so well."

Two other horses (Sound Man and Oatis Regrets) dropped out at yesterday's forfeit stage, leaving a maximun force of eight. However, the state of the Kempton going, and the state of one of Mr Mulligan's feet, means the field may eventually be whittled down to four and the smallest field since Burrough Hill Lad beat two opponents in 1984.

Mr Mulligan has sustained bruising after stepping on a stone. His foot is occupying a receptacle normally reserved for champagne over the festive period, an ice-filled bucket. Couldnt Be Better and Trying Again are also likely to be withdrawn if the ground is on the fast side of good, while, even more disappointingly, there are doubts about the participation of the second favourite and Grand National winner, Rough Quest. Terry Casey, the gelding's trainer, will walk the course today to determine whether the 10-year-old takes part.

Rough Quest was received so well after his win in a Folkestone novice hurdle last week that it came as a bit of a surprise that he was not borne into the winners' enclosure on a garlanded platform carried by a team of eunuchs. This, however, was not a performance that had either Gordon Richards, One Man's trainer, or Dunwoody, hurrying to the drinks cabinet in search of comfort. "I do see Rough Quest as the danger, but if One Man had been in that [Folkestone] race we would have expected him to win too and he wouldn't have started at 5-1 either," Dunwoody said.

If Rough Quest defects, many people's idea of the danger will be Strong Promise, the Murphy's Gold Cup runner-up. However, a line through his recent Ascot victim, Major Bell, suggests Geoff Hubbard's young horse would have a job beating One Man's stablemate Unguided Missile, never mind the big horse himself. As the three-mile trip is also an unknown factor, it may be best to stick with Barton Bank for the forecast.

The greatest peril to One Man comes from another forecast, that of the weather. Kempton is held at the moment by the sort of central continental conditions more reminiscent of the Canadian prairies. The atmosphere is icicle cold and a slicing wind is tearing across Sunbury, where sub-zero temperatures are anticipated over the next few days. Last Boxing Day all 10 cards were claimed by the elements, but Peter McNeile, the Kempton clerk of the course, was confident yesterday that the frost could be repelled.

If racing does go ahead it will be the last time that Kempton's unique Yuletide atmosphere is enjoyed in this particular backdrop. When the crowds returns to Kempton for Boxing Day 1997 it will be to a new pounds 8.4m grandstand development, on which work will begin in February. Richard Dunwoody and One Man (2.15) are most likely to be at the head of any grandstand finish to finish the old grandstand.

KING GEORGE VI CHASE -10-YEAR-TALE

1986 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 Fate of the favourites: 4 2 1 1 1 3 1 3 U 1

Winner's place in betting: 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 2jt 0 1

Winners' SPs: 16-1 25-1 1-2 4-6 9-4 10-1 1-1 9-2 16-1 11-4

Profit or loss to pounds 1 stake: Favourites -pounds 0.58. Second Favourites -pounds 6.25

Percentage of winners placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in last race: 56%

Shortest-priced winner: Desert Orchid 1-2 (1998) jt = joint favourite

Longest-priced winner: Nupsala 25-1 (1987)

Top trainers: F Doumen (4) - Nupsala (1987), The Fellow (1991 & 1992), Algan (1994).

Top jockey: R Dunwoody (3): Desert Orchid (1989 & 1990), One Man (1995)

Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
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
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reception Manager

£18750 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Hotel in Chadderton is a popular ch...

Recruitment Genius: Designer

£32969 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...

Recruitment Genius: Data Engineer

£35000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Data Engineer is required to ...

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence