The 2021 edition of the race included two former winners, with the Paul Nicholls duo of 2020 champ Frodon, and 2018 and 2019 hero Clan Des Obeaux, both in the line-up. However, it was a runner from the yard of Nicholls’ major rival, Nicky Henderson, who sat atop the market. A dual Grade 1 winner in Novice company, Chantry House was being touted as a Cheltenham Gold Cup contender and fancied by many to take the next step up the ladder here.
The Irish challenge was notably strong this year, with Willie Mullins sending over the talented but erratic Asterion Forlonge, and outsider, Tornado Flyer. Henry De Bromhead meanwhile relied on the reigning Cheltenham Gold Cup king, Minella Indo.
- 1st – Tornado Flyer 28/1, Jockey: Danny Mullins, Trainer: Willie Mullins
- 2nd – Clan Des Obeaux 7/2, Jockey: Harry Cobden, Trainer: Paul Nicholls
- 3rd – Saint Calvados 25/1, Jockey: Gavin Sheehan, Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Prize Money Breakdown
- 1st – £143,045
- 2nd – £54,095
- 3rd – £27,420
- 4th – £13,995
- 5th – £7,370
Tote and Forecast Payouts
- Tote Win – £29
- Tote Places – 1st – £4.60, 2nd – £1.60, 3rd – £4.90
- Exacta – £132.80
- Computer Straight Forecast (CSF) – £118.47
- Trifecta – £1,752.70
- Tricast – £2,419.14
The ever-reliable frontrunning Frodon immediately made his way to the front but was soon taken on for the lead by Minella Indo. The pair set a frenetic early gallop, which may have been a contributing factor towards the Irish horse being pulled up before the third last. For favourite backers, the writing was soon on the wall, with Chantry House making a number of early blunders, and never really recovering before also being pulled up.
Frodon’s time in front lasted until the third last, at which point Saint Calvados, Asterion Forlonge and Clan Des Obeaux all loomed up seemingly in cruise control. There was however one horse travelling even better in behind, in the shape of the largely unconsidered, Tornado Flyer.
Saint Calvados was the first to go for home, but couldn’t maintain the charge. Clan Des Obeaux hit the front three out, but by the second last, Tornado Flyer had arrived with a wet sail to storm into the lead. Stablemate Asterion Forlonge was his nearest pursuer when falling at the last, leaving Clan Des Obeaux to plod home nine lengths behind the shock winner.
This win represented a truly huge step up from the winning horse, whose only previous top-level win had come in a bumper event at the Punchestown Festival back in 2018. It was just a second King George for Willie Mullins following the success of Florida Pearl in 2001. For his nephew Danny in the saddle, this was a first win in the festive showpiece.
- 1. Asterion Forlonge – SP: 6/1, Trainer: Willie Mullins, Jockey: Bryan Cooper
- 2. Chantry House – SP: 3/1F, Trainer: Nicky Henderson, Jockey: Nico de Boinville
- 3. Clan Des Obeaux – SP: 7/2 Trainer: Paul Nicholls, Jockey: Harry Cobden
- 4. Frodon – SP: 7/1, Trainer: Paul Nicholls, Jockey: Bryony Frost
- 5. Lostintranslation – SP: 28/1, Trainer: Colin Tizzard, Jockey: Brendan Powell
- 6. Minella Indo – SP: 100/30, Trainer: Henry De Bromhead, Jockey: Rachael Blackmore
- 7. Mister Fisher – SP: 33/1, Trainer: Nicky Henderson, Jockey: Sean Bowen
- 8. Saint Calvados – SP: 25/1, Trainer: Paul Nicholls, Jockey: Bryony Frost
- 9. Tornado Flyer – SP: 28/1, Trainer: Willie Mullins, Jockey: Danny Mullins