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King Kauto on brink of history

All the hard work is done for the team behind Kauto Star - now the horse must do the talking on the track as immortality beckons in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton.

Those closest to the 11-year-old insist he is as good as ever as he prepares to win Saturday's great race for the fifth year in succession, a feat which would eclipse - at least numerically - that of Desert Orchid.

"He is fit and well and ready to go. There's no point going into the race being negative," said champion trainer Paul Nicholls.

"When you're running in a Grade One in that sort of company it's always hard to win, but we're happy with the way he is and his record at Kempton is second to none. He loves the track.

"If he runs like he did last year he's bound to go well. Last year he won very well, he beat some decent horses and it was a very good run, although I still think when you win a Gold Cup it's as good a run as any.

"In his work at home he is no different to how he has always been. Clifford (Baker, head lad) rides him every day and thinks he is just as good as ever."

But just as Kauto Star has swapped blows with stablemate Denman over the years, it is once again from within that may lurk his biggest danger.

Nicholls has been consistently keen on his second string The Nightingale, a young horse on the up and impressive when winning on the same Down Royal card as Kauto Star in November.

The trainer added: "He goes well right-handed, he likes cut in the ground and the form of his win in Ireland has worked out really well. If it was a handicap he would be giving Long Run weight.

"He's not without a chance, he's improving and is an unexposed horse. There's probably only him and Riverside Theatre in there that are unexposed like that. No-one really knows how good he is and I think he will run a really good race."


From Belfast Telegraph