Ruby gets Kauto Stone call-up for King George

Trainer Paul Nicholls has confirmed that Ruby Walsh will now ride Kauto Stone in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on St Stephen’s Day.

Ruby gets Kauto Stone call-up for King George

Walsh would have partnered Al Ferof, who was ruled out for the season on Monday, but will now replace the suspended Daryl Jacob aboard Nicholls’ stablemate.

Meanwhile, Nicky Henderson has moved to dispel any uncertainty surrounding the participation of Finian’s Rainbow in the King George.

Concerns were raised on Twitter that the nine-year-old would not be lining up next Wednesday, as his price had drifted on Betfair in recent days.

Finian’s Rainbow was last of four when sent off odds-on for his seasonal reappearance at Ascot in the Amlin Chase last month, and Henderson reported all subsequent checks of the Queen Mother Champion Chase winner had been clear and he was an intended starter.

“Everything went right,” he said. “He worked very well on Saturday and very well this [Tuesday] morning. All three [Finian’s Rainbow, Long Run and Riverside Theatre] are intended runners.”

David Pipe has stated a decision on the participation of Grands Crus in the King George will be left until as late as possible.

The Pond House handler issued an upbeat bulletin on Monday after the grey came through a piece of work with flying colours.

Speaking on his website,, the trainer said: “On a positive note, I am able to give an upbeat bulletin on Grands Crus, who continues to please me with his work at home following his wind operation.

“I am still hopeful that we will make the King George, although I would stress that if you are interested in having a little wager on him; try to do so ’with a run’.

“A decision on his participation will be left until the eleventh hour to give him every chance and he will not run if he is not 100% ready.”

Meanwhile, Paul Nicholls has also earmarked several horses who could represent him in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, a race the injured Big Buck’s has won for the last four years.

“Ruby will now ride Kauto Stone in the King George and, looking at the World Hurdle, we have Wonderful Charm, Prospect Wells and perhaps even Tidal Bay to consider for that race,” Nicholls told Betfair.

“Wonderful Charm has had a breathing operation since winning at Chepstow, and I may even consider Tidal Bay for the Cleeve Hurdle after he runs in the Lexus.

“For sure, he (Tidal Bay) has enough talent and versatility to make his presence felt in the World Hurdle, as well as the Gold Cup.”

Owner Dai Walters is in no rush to confirm Oscar Whisky for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle in the wake of the news that Big Buck’s has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

Oscar Whisky appeared to have his stamina limitations exposed when only fifth in the World Hurdle last year, but Walters feels that was not necessarily the case.

“The way we came up the hill last week you wouldn’t believe he didn’t stay three miles in March. I think it may have had something to do with his fall at Ascot (at the start of last season), he got a right jolt there.

“He’ll probably run on New Year’s Day and we’ll make our minds up after that maybe.

“He’ll certainly have an entry for the World Hurdle, anyway, but if the ground was like it was at the weekend in March he’d run in the Champion Hurdle.

Coneygree is also likely to have an entry in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.

Mark Bradstock’s exciting novice maintained his unbeaten record over hurdles in impressive style at Cheltenham on Saturday, proving his stamina in no uncertain terms.

His Festival opportunities had looked to be either the Neptune Novice’ Hurdle or the Albert Bartlett, but connections will now consider taking on his elders in the World Hurdle.

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