Stars in line for Boxing Day clashBy David Wright
December 23, 2011
Kauto Star and Long Run feature among the eight confirmed runners for the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Although lacking in quantity, the quality could hardly be higher for the Festive highlight as Kauto Star goes for a fifth victory in the race.
Last year’s winner Long Run, trained by Nicky Henderson, bids to reverse placings with Kauto Star on last month’s run in the Betfair Chase at Haydock.
Kauto Star’s owner Clive Smith and trainer Paul Nicholls have a second major candidate in Master Minded, with the dual Champion Chase winner stepping up to three miles for the first time in his career.
Henrietta Knight is set to saddle Somersby, with Diamond Harry representing Nick Williams.
Philip Hobbs’ Arkle winner Captain Chris is another trying three miles for the first time while Nacarat and Golan Way complete the line-up.
* Binocular will face a maximum of six rivals as he bids for a second successive win in the williamhill.com Christmas Hurdle on Boxing Day.
The seven-year-old impressed in the Kempton feature last year when beating Overturn, but has been largely disappointing since.
Overturn gained his revenge when landing the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle last month and the pair are set for a third clash on Monday.
Overturn’s trainer Donald McCain has also entered Drill Sergeant, while champion trainer Paul Nicholls could saddle impressive Newbury winner Rock On Ruby, as well as Sanctuaire.
* Newbury are renaming a race in tribute to Denman, who has recently been retired from racing due to injury. Paul Nicholls’ star won six races at the Berkshire track including two Hennessy Gold Cups.
The race previously known as the AON Chase will now run under the title of the Betfair Denman Chase.
Betfair are to sponsor the whole Newbury meeting on February 11 and have upped the prize money of the Betfair Hurdle (formerly the Totesport Trophy) from £120,000 to £152,500. Among those who could go for Europe’s richest handicap hurdle is Raya Star, an impressive winner at Ascot last Saturday.
* NEWBURY are staging a meeting on New Year’s Eve, starting at 12.20.