Thornton set for ‘Pady’ King George ride

Forpadydeplasterer, runner-up in last year’s Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and still a possible for a repeat attempt against Big Zeb or more likely a crack at the Ryanair Chase, will have a new jockey on Saturday when he attempts three miles for the first time in his career in the rescheduled William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton Park, writes Elliot Slater.

Tom Cooper’s highly talented nine-year-old has finished runner-up on ten of his last eleven outings, nine of which were in Grade 1 contests. His sole victory during that frustrating sequence of near misses was when beating Kalahari King a short-head in the 2009 Arkle Chase, and connections have decided to have a go at Kauto Star and the rest in Saturday’s eagerly anticipated race in a bid to see if the Moscow Society gelding has enough stamina to open up the options available to them for the rest of his career.

With usual partner Barry Geraghty almost certainly set to partner Riverside Theatre for his boss Nicky Henderson, Cooper has turned to the popular Robert Thornton to take over on Forpadydeplasterer in the race that could create history if Paul Nicholls’ odds-on favourite manages to win for the fifth successive year.

Cooper seems more hopeful than confident that his charge will stay, and is very much hoping that the forecast heavy rain stays away from the Sunbury circuit and that underfoot conditions will be suitable for his runner to have a sporting chance of seeing out the trip. If the ground were to come up heavy there would have to be a doubt about Forpadydeplasterer’s participation.

Looking ahead to the Cheltenham Festival 2011, Cooper’s pride and joy is generally on offer at 12/1 for the Ryanair Chase, the race that has been earmarked as his most likely target at the fixture this time around.