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King Kauto in at 5-1 to reclaim Gold Cup

By Robert Fenton

King Kauto proved himself an all-time great with a brilliant and previously unheralded fifth victory in the King George VI Chase at Kempton.

It was another record achievement after being the first to win the race four times in a row and the only horse to win the King George, lose it and then regain it.

The Paul Nicholls-trained Star has now mastered Long Run twice this season with the score standing at 2-2 in four meetings and it's on to Cheltenham for another Gold Cup battle in March.

They dominate the betting at a best price of 5-1 and 11-4 respectively and both should be backed as there's little else to challenge their dominance in this sphere.

Kauto Star will be 12-years-old come the Festival but he's running better than ever and has a major chance of bringing down the curtain on his remarkable career with another outstanding display.

Gold Cup champion Long Run was coming back at Kauto on the run to the line and the extra two furlongs and the Cheltenham hill could prove decisive, as it did in 2011 when Long Run got the better of Kauto and Denman.

Another help would be amateur pilot Sam Waley-Cohen standing down in favour of either Barry Geraghty or Tony McCoy.

It's highly unlikely as the horse is owned by Sam's father but there's no doubt the professional tactics of Ruby Walsh was a contributory factor in Kauto's supremacy.

Ruby controlled the pace of the race and knew when to quicken to put Long Run under pressure at his fences.

One of the most amazing stories of the race was that Kauto's Boxing Day success scuppered six tickets in the totescoop6 which had a win fund of £158,000 and means a carry over, bringing next Saturday's pot up to £400,000.

The King George was the final leg and, unbelievably, none of the six punters selected Kauto. Two were on Long Run, three on the unnamed favourite (Long Run) and the other on Kauto's stable mate Master Minded who sustained a race-ending injury.

Totepool spokesman George Primarolo said: "Given the popularity of the horse, it was surprising that none of the remaining six tickets had Kauto Star going into the final leg but his victory in the King George means there should be an estimated £400,000 up for grabs on New Year's Eve."

The breakdown on the scoop6 was: Leg 1: 1.25 Kempton: Our Mick 29,556; Leg 2: 1.45 Wetherby: According To Pete 287; Leg 3: 2.00 Kempton: Grands Crus 107; Leg 4 2.20 Wetherby: Simonside 12; Leg 5 2.35 Kempton: Binocular 6; Leg 6 3.10 Kempton: Kauto Star 0

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