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Nicholls delivers some festive cheer but Kauto Star drifts to evens

| 21.12.2010

The cold snap may hit punters hard once again over the Christmas period after Barney Clifford, clerk of the course at Kempton confirmed “it’s a day by day scenario”.

National Hunt fans are eagerly awaiting Kauto Star’s reappearance at Kempton as he looks to win his fifth consecutive King George chase, but forecasts suggest that temperatures will hover around freezing in the Sunbury area for the rest of the week.

And the conditions may be the reason behind Kauto Star drifting out to 1/1 from 10/11 to win the King George.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup winner will take on the field in temperatures that will reach 4C at a high, but Kauto Star’s trainer, Paul Nicholls, is optimistic ahead of what could be a very momentous day in National Hunt racing.

“He cantered on Monday, and is absolutely fine,” said Nicholls after two inches of snow fell upon Nicholls’ stables in Ditcheat, Somerset.

“It’s just a question of getting the race on. He’ll go to Kempton in good shape, and everyone here is looking forward to it.”

14 horses have been declared for the King George chase should it go ahead, and Noel Fehily will take the reins aboard Kauto Star for the first time while Mr Sam Waley-Cohen will take the ride on Long Run as usual.

Long Run is the closest horse in the King George betting to Kauto Star at 5/1 to win the race.

The Nicky Henderson-trained gelding is one of three horses that Henderson will saddle in the race, and all have a fair chance of winning.

Burton Port 16/1 in the King George odds, and Riverside Theatre, 10/1 in the King George betting, will be challenging Kauto Star at Kempton and none of the Henderson-trained treble should be ruled out.

A £10 stake on Riverside Theatre winning the King George chase would return £110. New customers can sign up here for a free £10 bet.



Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.