Kauto Star will return to Kempton in search of a remarkable fifth King George VI Chase success on Boxing Day and Paul Nicholls believes that the legendary chaser is going to make life very difficult for market leader Long Run.
It has been twelve months since Kauto Star was beaten by Long Run in last year’s renewal of the race, but Nicholls’ dual Gold Cup winner had been successful in the previous four runnings of the race and there would be sensational scenes at Kempton if he could regain his crown in the Grade One showpiece.
Ladbrokes continue to offer our readers a free £50 bet on Kauto Star winning the race and at odds of 3/1, there is sure to be plenty of takers.
Nicholls explained: "I didn't want to be rushed into making a decision about the King George after Haydock but it amazed me how he got over the race and I think he's a better horse than last year.
"I watched the King George again, and no way did he run anywhere near his best. I'm so fond of the horse, everybody's enjoying seeing him and while he can compete like that he deserves to be there. It's a great sporting decision by Clive to let me run them both and I've trained Master Minded for the race ever since he came back in August."
"You've got to respect Long Run, he's last year's winner but Kauto keeps breaking all the rules and if he runs like he did at Haydock, he's got to have a big chance of winning again."
Meanwhile, Kauto Star’s jockey Ruby Walsh commented: "Paul and I think he is probably better going the other way, but he has a great record at Kempton.
"Long Run is obviously going to improve and Paul had made no secret of the fact he had Kauto spot on (at Haydock). I'd imagine Nicky Henderson had bigger things in mind and he got caught on the day - he's the one we have to beat and he'll be sharper and fitter."