King George on the cards for Royal Pagaille
Two-time Grade Two winner Royale Pagaille could be set for a big campaign this season, with all the leading 3m chasers under consideration for Venetia WilliamsÔÇÖ talented chaser, including the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
The eight-year-old featured five times last season, with the pick of his performances coming in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock. He won that race at the Lancashire course for the second time.
Royale Pagaille has been installed at 12/1 in the┬áhorse racing odds for the King George. It would be his first attempt at the 3m contest as his connections opted against lining up in the race in 2021.
Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Allaho is likely to be one of the leading┬áracing tips┬áfor the feature race of the festive period. The race could also include recent Charlie Hall Chase winner Bravemansgame, so competition will be strong against WilliamsÔÇÖ runner.
Betfair Chase a likely first run
The Betfair Chase at Haydock is likely to be where Royale Pagaille makes his seasonal reappearance. The French-bred horse returned to action in the Grade One race in 2021, finishing second to A Plus Tard, albeit 22 lengths behind the impressive winner.
Six horses have been entered to run in the Haydock feature at the early stage of declarations. It includes┬álast yearÔÇÖs winner, Protektorat, Bristol De Mai, Eldorado Allen, Frodon and Royale Pagaille.
With a record as strong as his at Haydock (three wins and a second place from four starts), connections of Royale Pagaille will be hopeful of a big run in the opening Grade One race of the season over 3m in the UK.
Whatever happens what Haydock, the run should sharpen the 163-rated chaser up for Kempton. He now has 17 appearances over fences, so he is not lacking experience going into the 2022/23 campaign.
Williams has won the King George once before in her career. Her sole success came back in 1998 when Teeton Mill prevailed, completing a treble in two months, with wins also coming in the Badger Beer Chase and Hennessy Gold Cup in the early stages of that season. If Royale Pagaille can double her tally on Boxing Day, 24 years later, it would be a great achievement for the Hertfordshire-based trainer.
Season Likely to End with Blue Riband Event of Cheltenham Festival
Royale Pagaille has lined up in the last two renewals of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the most prestigious race in National Hunt racing. He finished fifth in 2021 on his debut in the race won by┬áMinella Indo, while back in March, he went one place better in the feature contest at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival.
A third shot at the Gold Cup is sure to be under consideration for Williams, should everything go right for her horse in the opening half of the season. She could be double-handed in the race in 2023, as LÔÇÖHomme Presse may also line up on the final day of the meeting alongside his stablemate.
Royale Pagaille has already achieved a lot on the track, but his best season may be ahead of him now he is in the peak of his career.