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Page last updated at 15:17 GMT, Saturday, 26 December 2009

Kauto Star claims a fourth King George VI Chase win

Ruby Walsh on Kauto Star
Kauto Star gives Ruby Walsh yet another big race success

Kauto Star became the first horse to claim a record four consecutive victories in the King George VI Chase.

The 8-13 favourite thrilled the huge Kempton crowd and was never challenged once he took the lead on the home turn, winning by more than 30 lengths.

Ruby Walsh safely guided the dual Cheltenham Gold Cup hero over the last three fences for a comfortable win.

Madison du Berlais edged out Barbers Shop in a tight race for second, finishing long after the winner.

The triumph for the nine-year-old Kauto Star sees him eclipse the achievements of Desert Orchid, who won the traditional Christmas showpiece four times in the space of five years from 1986-91.

Nacarat and Ollie Magern set a stern early pace but Kauto Star was never too far away from the leading two and once Ollie Magern faded, it was not long before Kauto moved alongside Nacarat.

Imperial Commander, who ran Kauto close at Haydock last time out, committed a bad mistake at the second fence and he struggled to get competitive after that while Deep Purple and Racing Demon were both pulled up as Kauto triumphed by a distance.

Walsh said: "For any horse to come back for the same race four years on the trot is some ask, but to win it is incredible and it is an absolute privilege to ride him. He's an amazing horse

"I'd say that was the best King George I've ridden in as regards pace, they went a really good gallop and I couldn't believe the way he jumped the fourth-last.

"I was still on the bridle when I got to Nacarat, and Barbers Shop was the only other horse still in view."

Nicholls had been impressed with the form of Kauto Star coming into the race and he was delighted with the way he saw off the rest of the field.

"I knew he was at his best and I can't believe how much he has improved," he said. "I don't think he has ever run better.


"He has got pace, he jumps and stays and is just a wonderful wonderful horse teamed up with a brilliant jockey as well, they suit each other.

"Hopefully he is good for racing, that's what we want."

Kauto Star is now the clear 6-4 favourite to defend his Cheltenham Gold Cup crown in March ahead of stable-mate Denman, who is out to 9-4 from 2-1.

Earlier, Go Native held off the challenge of the fast-finishing Starluck to win the Christmas Hurdle after a photo-finish.

The 5-2 chance took the lead approaching the last fence but seemed to idle under Davy Condon when he went to the front of the field.

Although Starluck and Timmy Murphy chased him down hard, the Irish challenger, who won the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle, held on for the win.

It gave trainer Noel Meade yet another success in the race after wins for Harchibald and Jazz Messenger in past years.

The favourite Binocular saw his chances hampered by an error at the third-last fence and when Go Native took the lead he was unable to respond.

The win for Go Native cuts his odds for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival to 5-1 from 8-1 and he is now battling for favouritism with Zaynar and Solwhit while Binocular is now out to 8-1.

King George VI Chase (Kempton)

1. Kauto Star (R Walsh) 8-13 Fav
2. Madison Du Berlais (T Scudamore) 10-1
3. Barbers Shop (B J Geraghty) 14-1
13 ran

Christmas Hurdle (Kempton)

1. Go Native (D J Condon) 5-2
2. Starluck (T J Murphy) 10-3
3. Binocular (A P McCoy) 11-8 Fav
7 ran

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see also
Four cheers for Kauto Star
26 Dec 09 |  Horse Racing
Snow forces Wetherby abandonment
26 Dec 09 |  Horse Racing
Kauto destined for Dessie mantle
22 Dec 09 |  Horse Racing
The Kauto Star story
29 Oct 12 |  Horse Racing
Kauto Kempton bid 'to beat' frost
17 Dec 09 |  Horse Racing
Ferguson's Friend lands Lexus win
29 Dec 09 |  Horse Racing
Kauto Star secures thrilling win
21 Nov 09 |  Horse Racing
Kauto secures King George treble
26 Dec 08 |  Horse Racing

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