King George on hold after Finian’s disappointing debut

Finian's Rainbow - last on seasonal debut

Nicky Henderson was so disappointed with the run of Finian’s Rainbow in Saturday’s Amlin 1965 Chase at Ascot that he has ordered a thorough health check for the horse from his veterinary team. Finian’s Rainbow finished last of the four runners, almost 25 lengths behind the winner, a rejuvenated Captain Chris. Only then will he decide if last years Queen Mother Champion Chase winner will contest the King George VI Chase at Kempton’s Boxing Day meeting.

Immediately after the race Henderson said, “Barry (Geraghty) told me to ignore the run, the excuse was ground, ground, ground and ground. They either go in it or they don't. We haven't learnt anything today and you wouldn't think about the King George if it was soft."

On later reflection he had a different view, telling the Racing Post, “I can’t have that as Finian’s true running. I was putting it down to the ground yesterday but of all of them, he’s been the one that’s been in such good form. I can’t believe that’s his running. We are going to check him out because that doesn’t ring true to me. We’ve been galloping around in soft ground for the last three weeks. He’s been working and schooling in soft ground and he’s been brilliant. Everything has been in the mix but let’s just see if we can come up with an explanation for it. We will go down the clinical route first.”

Finian’s Rainbow remains a bets priced 12/1 for the King George, with stable mate Long Run the favourite at 4/1.

It is probably the case that both ground and some slight ailment contributed to the poor showing of Finian’s Rainbow on Saturday. It is certainly the case that he shouldn’t be backed for the King George until we know the outcome of the tests Henderson is running, and what conditions are like at Kempton. And most important of all, until we know whether that race remains in his programme for this season.

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