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Page last updated at 13:25 GMT, Sunday, 27 December 2009

Kauto Star pips Denman for Gold Cup favouritism

Ruby Walsh on Kauto Star
Ruby Walsh steers Kauto Star to a fourth King George victory

Kauto Star is the clear favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup after his Boxing Day heroics at Kempton.

Bookies have trimmed Kauto's odds to 6-4 after he landed a fourth straight King George VI Chase, stablemate Denman is at 2-1 for March's showdown.

Paul Nicholls, who trains both horses, said: "Denman put his name in the hat with an awesome performance [in the Hennessy]. Now Kauto has done the same.

"Denman still has another run to come but it's very interesting for March."

Kauto Star will be going for a third Gold Cup crown after Denman interrupted his winning sequence last season.

But jockey Ruby Walsh will face the agonising prospect of choosing between the two mounts for jump racing's blue riband event.

"Anything can happen and horse racing could still get me off both of their backs. It is a fickle sport," Walsh said.

sully50 (U13851521)

But trainer Nicholls is in buoyant mood after Kauto Star captured his 13th Grade One chase with arguably his best performance.

The legendary grey Desert Orchid also won the Boxing Day showpiece four times but that was in the space of five years between 1986-91.

And Nicholls told BBC Sport: "Kauto's got it all, he's got pace, he jumps, he stays and he is a wonderful, wonderful horse.

"It was probably his best performance. Everything about him now is utterly professional. Everything about him now is the utter professional.

"He is relaxed, grown up, jumps and will be a hard horse to beat.

"He is just as likely to be back next year if he stays sound. He is not going to have too many runs before then - it will be the Cheltenham Gold Cup and then back here [at Kempton]."

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see also
Kauto races to King George record
26 Dec 09 |  Horse Racing
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
Denman claims historic Hennessy
28 Nov 09 |  Horse Racing
Ferguson's Friend lands Lexus win
29 Dec 09 |  Horse Racing
Kauto secures King George treble
26 Dec 08 |  Horse Racing

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