How many horses have won the King George VI Chase more than once?
Aside from the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the King George VI Chase is the most prestigious conditions chase in the British National Hunt calendar. The King George VI Chase was inaugurated in 1937, 13 years after the Cheltenham Gold Cup (as a steeplechase) but, remarkably, 15 horses have won traditional Boxing Day highlight more than once.
Halloween (1952, 1954) had the distinction of being the first dual winner of the King George VI Chase and also the dubious distinction of being placed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1953, 1954, 1955 and 1956, but never won the ‘Blue Riband’. Mandarin (1957, 1959), the inaugural winner of the Hennessy Gold Cup, was next up, but the spate of multiple winners, which has continued until the present day, really began in the Seventies.
Pendil (1972, 1973) and Captain Christy (1974, 1975) recorded back-to-back victories, as did Silver Buck (1979, 1980). Next came the first three-time winner, Wayward Lad (1982, 1983 and 1985), who was temporarily deposed, in 1984, by the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Burrough Hill Lad. Desert Orchid (1986, 1988, 1989 and 1990) – who was widely considered a doubtful stayer before his first, 15-length victory – subsequently usurped Wayward Lad as the most successful horse in the history of the King George VI Chase.
‘Dessie’ was followed by a another quartet of dual winners, in the form of The Fellow (1991, 1992), One Man (1995, 1996), See More Business (1997, 1999) and Kicking King (2004, 2005). Then, of course, came the days of five-time winner Kauto Star (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011), whose dominance was interrupted only by another dual winner, Long Run (2010, 2012). Silviniaco Conti (2013, 2014) and Clan Des Obeaux (2018, 2019) continued the tradition of multiple winners in the King George VI Chase and, with 2020 winner Frodon lining up again in 2021, a sixteenth such winner is a distinct possibility.