Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Good Ground at Sandown

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Good Ground at Sandown

Article excerpt

Byline: By Chris Wilson

Conditions at Sandown have dried out ahead of the Stan James King George VI Chase meeting on Boxing Day with the going on the chase course now officially "good".

But with frost forecast for Christmas Day, clerk of the course Andrew Cooper is considering issuing a precautionary 7.30am inspection this afternoon for the big day.

"It's been generally dry bar one wet night since the Tingle Creek, so that's not a problem," he explained.

"There is some talk of a bit of frost on Christmas Day though, so we are leaning towards a possible inspection, which will do no harm whatsoever."

Tony McCoy hopes to guide Impek to victory for Jim Lewis.

The champion jockey has been chosen over Timmy Murphy, who now rides Francois Doumen's L'Ami, to partner the Peterborough Chase winner.

It has been a tragic few months for Lewis, who saw his triple Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate die in action at Exeter in November.

And the popular owner has had to endure the loss of his wife Valerie.

While McCoy acknowledged Impek faces a huge test of his unquestionable ability at Sandown, the champion jockey insists Henrietta Knight's nine-year-old has nothing to fear taking on the likes of Kicking King and Kingscliff.

"The King George is going to be a brilliant race with Kicking King, Kingscliff and Impek," said the rider.

"It's going to be a very open race as horses like Royal Auclair have also got a chance, but it's something to look forward to.

"I've been very lucky (in Jim Lewis' colours) as I've won a King George (on Best Mate) and a Champion Chase (on Edredon Bleu).

"It would be nice for Jim Lewis if Impek can win and he's in good form ( but it's going to be hard to win."

Nigel Twiston-Davies sees no reason why Ollie Magern cannot return to his best form in the extended three-mile contest at the Esher venue. …

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