Belfast Telegraph

The Punter: Kauto Star set to land his fifth King George

Racing craves a celebration of a ‘famous five' in Saturday's rescheduled King George VI Chase at Kempton Park.

And if it happens, then space for a new statue to stand beside the one erected in memory of the popular grey and four-times winner Desert Orchid will be required in the parade ring.

The last thing needed is a stammering show from hot favourite Kauto Star as he bids to romp home to an historic fifth win in a row in a race second only in importance to Cheltenham's Gold Cup.

The decision by the British Horseracing Authority not to re-open the entries for the race which was postponed on Boxing Day means Kauto will not face his number one rival Imperial Commander in this encounter, leaving the ‘big two' having to wait until Cheltenham for another re-match.

Last year's Gold Cup winner Commander was originally taken out of the race because of a slight setback but could have been brought back in if entries had been re-opened or a supplementary entry allowed which often happens when major races are postponed for a period of time.

But trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies' request to revert back to the initial six-day declaration stage, now that the Commander has fully recovered, was rejected.

That's a shame from a racing purist point of view as everyone prefers to see the best in terms of competition, even though Imperial's Kempton form is nothing to get excited about and he was well beaten by Kauto in the last running of this race in 2009.

As it stands, everything is at the mercy of Kauto for a five-star show and it will please those holding ante-post vouchers on the champion who has held sway in the race for four years as such bets would have been void if the race had been re-opened.

Another victory is his for the taking and this is reflected in his price of 4-5 which is likely to shorten even further.

Tony McCoy, who won the Welsh National at the weekend to complete the grand slam of Nationals, comes in for the ride on Kauto because of injuries to Ruby Walsh and Noel Fehily.

Staying on a local note, it could well be a one-two for horses whose last outings were triumphs at Down Royal courtesy of Kauto and his stablemate The Nightingale at the Festival of Racing back in November.

Trainer Paul Nicholls shrewdly kept The Nightingale in the race in view of a possible postponement and the ground turning in the horse's favour which is now more than likely. Wouldn't it be something if he and Sam Thomas spoiled the anticipated party!

There is a ‘without' market which excludes Kauto and at 6-1, The Nightingale can make for plenty of extra song at the end of what promises to be a memorable day.

Betting: 4-5 Kauto Star; 11-2 Long Run; 10-1 Nacarat, Riverside Theatre; 12-1 Forpadydeplasterer, The Nightingale; 20-1 Sizing Europe, Planet of Sound; 25-1 Albertas Run; 33-1 Madison Du Berlais; 200-1 Ollie Magern. Each-way 1/4 1,2 3.

Betting without Kauto Star: 11-4 Long Run; 5-1 Nacarat; 6-1 The Nightingale, Forpadydeplasterer; 8-1 Planet of Sound, Sizing Europe; 14-1 Albertas Run.

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