KAUTO Star, the nation’s favourite racehorse, has the opportunity to make history at Kempton Park on Boxing Day in the William Hill King George VI Chase. Clive Smith’s brilliant chaser has won this famous race four times, exactly the same as Desert Orchid, and a fifth win on Monday would spark wild celebrations at the Sunbury course.
I would be absolutely thrilled to see Kauto Star rewrite the history books, but punting is about using your head rather than your heart and he just has to be taken on at 3/1 with Coral. Yes, he loves the track, but Paul Nicholls always said that his big target this year was the Betfair Chase and he wouldn’t even consider running him in the King George until after that.
Nicholls has another live chance with Master Minded, who was back to somewhere near his best at Ascot last time. There has to be a big stamina doubt with him, though, and the same applies to Philip Hobbs’ Captain Chris.
LONG RUN became the first six-year-old to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup since Mill House in March and he was a hugely impressive winner of the King George back in January. He has always been the apple of Nicky Henderson’s eye who said that he’d come on for his seasonal reappearance in the Betfair Chase. The son of Cadoudal jumped poorly at Haydock, but he is two from two at Kempton and must be backed at 5/4 with Blue Square.
Henderson loves this meeting and he could be set for another fantastic day as I think BINOCULAR will take all the beating in the William Hill Christmas Hurdle. He goes particularly well over this course and distance and he can reverse Newcastle placings with Overturn.
Tuesday’s highlight is the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow and Victor Dartnall’s GILES CROSS has an excellent chance of going one spot better than his second place in this race back in January. He adores bottomless conditions, is an excellent jumper and has turned in some of his best performances at Chepstow. The nine-year-old has a lovely racing weight for this brutal contest and he looks bombproof each-way at 8/1 with Paddy Power.
I will also be backing ANY CURRENCY each-way at 20/1 with Coral. He ran an eye-catching race on his seasonal reappearance at Sandown last month and could easily sneak into the places.
The Lexus Chase on Wednesday features some of Ireland’s top chasers and QUITO DE LA ROQUE is a strong fancy at 7/4 with Coral. He has won six of his last seven starts and an impressive victory at Leopardstown will see his odds tumble for the Cheltenham Gold Cup (currently 16/1 with Coral).