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Page last updated at 23:54 GMT, Thursday, 4 November 2010

Walsh confident of fifth King George win on Kauto Star

Ruby Walsh and Kauto Star
Walsh is an eight-time champion jockey in Ireland

Irish National Hunt champion jockey Ruby Walsh is confident Kauto Star will claim a record fifth consecutive King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.

Walsh rides the dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner in Saturday's seasonal return at Down Royal, and believes more Kempton glory beckons for the gelding.

"I don't see any reason why he won't win [at Kempton]," he told BBC 5 live.

"You never like to get too bullish or too cocky but I wouldn't like to be riding anything else in the race."

Aside from his four King George heroics and Cheltenham Gold Cup wins in 2007 and 2009, Walsh has also guided Kauto to two Tingle Creek Chase victories (2005 and 2006), two Betfair Chase wins (2006 and 2009) and one Ascot Chase triumph (2008).

And Walsh is relishing the prospect of getting back on the Paul Nicholls-trained mount and his stablemate Denman - the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, whom Walsh ran to glory in the 2009 Hennessy Gold Cup.

606: DEBATE

"You always hope that after a summer break they're going to be better but obviously you realise, as time goes on, horses reach a peak in their career and they're not going to get any better.

"But, that said, with Kauto Star and Denman there's no need for them to get any better. They're two wonderful horses and an absolute privilege to ride.

"They still have a couple of years left in them and this is an exciting time of year.

Kauto Star has not run since falling in March's Gold Cup but Walsh denied there would be extra pressure on the 10-year-old in the 2011 National Hunt blue riband event as a result.

"The first year he won the Gold Cup was the pressure year," stated Walsh. "He was the raging favourite, it was his first time over three and a quarter miles and, of course, he was racing for the bonus - the Betfair million. That was the pressure year.

"It's done and out of the way and now it's just enjoyment."

And Walsh reported Kauto was in rude health for his James Nicholson Chase tilt at the Lisburn course on Saturday.

"Paul [Nicholls] has him in great shape, he's been schooling really well, we want to put the Gold Cup behind us and the fall he got and have a good round of jumping," the jockey added.

"I'm really looking forward to it and I can't wait for Saturday."



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see also
Ruby Walsh on his career, Aintree and McCoy
04 Nov 10 |  Horse Racing
Kauto Star takes Down Royal win
06 Nov 10 |  Horse Racing
Kauto team ponder Denman showdown
31 Oct 10 |  Horse Racing
Long Run handed Kauto challenge
27 Sep 10 |  Horse Racing
Kauto lucky after tumble - Smith
21 Mar 10 |  Horse Racing
Imperial Commander lands Gold Cup
19 Mar 10 |  Horse Racing
Kauto races to King George record
26 Dec 09 |  Horse Racing
Denman claims historic Hennessy
28 Nov 09 |  Horse Racing
Historic Gold Cup win for Kauto
13 Mar 09 |  Horse Racing


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