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Tony McCoy will ride Kauto Star in King George

William Hill King George VI Chase
Date: 27 December Time: 1515 GMT Racecourse: Kempton Park
Coverage: BBC Radio 5 live, Channel 4, live updates on BBC Sport website


Jockey AP McCoy wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year

Tony McCoy will ride Kauto Star as the favourite goes for a record fifth King George VI Chase at Kempton on Monday after injury ruled out Noel Fehily.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls offered the mount to McCoy and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year has accepted.

It will be the first time that McCoy has ridden Kauto Star in a race.

The race was due to take place on Boxing Day, but that was rescheduled after an inspection of the course on Christmas Eve.

The three defectors from the confirmation stage were the Nicholls-trained pair of What A Friend and Noland and Nicky Henderson's Burton Port.

McCoy will join Ruby Walsh, Mick Fitzgerald and Sam Thomas as the only jockeys to have ridden Kauto Star, with Walsh on board for all four King George wins.

Champion jockey McCoy, who won the 2002 King George VI Chase on board Best Mate, had been set to ride Albertas Run for Jonjo O'Neill and Trevor Hemmings this year.

"I'm very excited, it's every jockey's dream to ride a horse like Kauto Star," McCoy told BBC Radio 5 live racing.

"What he has achieved, winning four King Georges and two Gold Cups and many other races as well, you can't not look forward to riding him.


"Trevor Hemmings, who owns Albertas Run, was very kind to give me the opportunity to ride Kauto Star instead of Albertas Run, so thanks to Trevor for that.

"You always want to ride the best horses and he is the best horse. If he puts up anything close to his King George performances before then he'll win."

McCoy added: "It's been an amazing year having won the Grand National, and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year isn't something anyone can think about, let alone a jockey."

Fehily had stepped in to take the coveted ride when Walsh broke his leg, but then hurt his wrist at Newbury last month.

"I couldn't drag it out any longer," Fehily told 5 live. "I've made the decision and I have to live by that now. I think I'll have to have surgery to fix it.

"It's absolutely devastating - to make history would have been unbelievable to have been part of. You'd start walking to Kempton now on your hands and knees if you thought you could make it."

Nicholls paid tribute to Fehily's decision, which came early enough for the trainer to find the highest-quality replacement.

"I wasn't totally surprised but I've got a lot of respect for him, not everyone would do that and you have to take your hat off to him," Nicholls told 5 live.

And of McCoy's ability to adjust to a new mount, however celebrated, Nichols added: "He'll look at videos and he'll talk to Ruby; he'll be fine, no problem at all. It's a big pressure day and if anyone can handle that it's going to be AP [McCoy]."

Two-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Kauto Star is one of two horses entered in the race by champion trainer Nicholls.

Henderson has two strong challengers to Kauto Star's crown with Long Run, the current second favourite in the betting and course specialist Riverside Theatre all possibles for the Seven Barrows handler.

There are two Irish representatives in last season's Arkle winner Sizing Europe and the 2009 Arkle winner Forpadydeplasterer.

Philip Hobbs' Punchestown Gold Cup winner Planet Of Sound could turn out while Tom George's Nacarat is set to have another crack.

The 2009 runner-up Madison du Berlais and 2008 runner-up Albertas Run will attempt to go one better, while the veteran Ollie Magern completes the field.

There will be an inspection at 1400 GMT on Sunday, with the King George VI Chase now scheduled to take place at 1515 GMT on Monday.

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see also
January date for King George race
26 Dec 10 |  Horse Racing
McCoy admits Welsh National dream
22 Dec 10 |  Horse Racing
McCoy secures double at Kempton
21 Dec 10 |  Horse Racing
Jockey McCoy 'humbled' by award
19 Dec 10 |  Sport Homepage
McCoy wins BBC Sports Personality
19 Dec 10 |  Sport Homepage
Ruby Walsh Q&A
21 Dec 10 |  Horse Racing
The Kauto Star story
29 Oct 12 |  Horse Racing
Kempton confident for King George
14 Dec 10 |  Horse Racing
Commander will miss King George
06 Dec 10 |  Horse Racing
Kauto Star makes winning return
06 Nov 10 |  Horse Racing
Kauto lucky after tumble - Smith
21 Mar 10 |  Horse Racing
Kauto races to King George record
26 Dec 09 |  Horse Racing
BBC racing coverage
09 Apr 11 |  Horse Racing

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