King George target for Kauto Star

A crack at the Stan James King George VI Chase is just one of the possibilities for Kauto Star this season as trainer Paul Nicholls plots the coming campaign for his talented five-year-old.

The Ditcheat handler, crowned British champion for the first time in 2005/6, has marked out the Old Roan Chase at Aintree on October 23 as a first port of call for the gelding, who crashed out in the early stages of the Queen Mother Champion Chase in March and has not raced since.

Winner of the William Hill Tingle Creek Chase last December, he could bid for repeat, although Nicholls has a suspicion he could be in need of a longer trip.

He said: “At the moment we are getting him ready for Aintree in two weeks’ time.

“The Haldon Gold Cup and the Tingle Creek are other races we will consider, but he might be better over further than two miles. I am not sure of his ideal distance.

“He will have an entry in the King George and we will have to see how he gets on.

“He has had a light couple of years and could run a lot more this season.

“He was very sore after his fall at Cheltenham. Moscow Flyer and Dempsey landed on him and he had a fair few hoof prints on him.

“But we have given him plenty of time. Ruby Walsh came over and schooled him recently and he jumped beautifully – he is ready to go.”

Nicholls has amassed a formidable team of novice chasers for this term, with Royal & SunAlliance Hurdle runner-up Denman at the top of the tree.

“Denman has always wanted a fence and he will be ready in two or three weeks,” Nicholls continued.

“There is a race at Exeter on Haldon Gold Cup Day next month which he could run in, or he may go to Wincanton for the Rising Stars Novices’ Chase on November 4.

“If you had seen him jump a fence you would know why we are excited and he was always going to be a better chaser.”

Royal & SunAlliance Chase hero Star De Mohasion completed a hat-trick in his final three starts last spring and Nicholls is relishing the prospect of getting the five-year-old back to the track.

“Star De Mohaison will probably start off in the Charlie Hall (at Wetherby on October 28) and is a top-class prospect for the coming season. He is still only a five-year-old and he could be a King George horse.”

Wincanton is the local track of Nicholls, who celebrated six winners on the same afternoon there back in January, and he plans to unleash some of his stable stars at the November 4 fixture.

“Natal is another possibility for the Rising Stars race, while Kicks For Free could make his hurdling debut there the same day and Desert Quest could also run,” said Nicholls.

“For me jumps racing is a winter game and Badger Ales Trophy Day at Wincanton signals the start of it. There are some big races that day and they continue from then onwards with meetings like the Paddy Power and the Hennessy.”

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox