Kauto Star King at Kempton again

In one of the great racing comebacks, Kauto Star won his fifth King George VI Chase at Kempton. The horse that many had written off as nearing retirement, after a disappointing race in the same event in 2010, reasserted his brilliance to beat the favourite and Gold Cup winner Long Run.

Ruby Walsh took the 11 year-old to the front with a whole circuit to go, and Kauto Star was never in danger after that. There were 22,000 spectators at Kempton to see the race, and judging by the response at the finish, most of them had backed Kauto Star. Trainer Paul Nicholls, normally a cool and collected personality, got very excited at the finish.

"He was amazing,” he said. “If he'd shown any sign that he wasn't as good as ever then we'd have retired him but he's just been so good this autumn and he worked so well on Saturday. If he gets to Cheltenham in that form he'll be the one to beat.”

His owner Clive Smith wasn't ruling out another Gold Cup challenge either. "It's unbelievable, I'm so proud of him," he said. "He's such a magnificent animal. He's just got such a heart – a heart to win anything."

Long Run looked one-paced by comparison, but his trainer Nicky Henderson was looking forward to another clash with Kauto Star at Cheltenham. "It's 2-2 between them and the decider will be played out in the Cotswolds in March," he said.

Kauto Star, previously 10-1 for the Gold Cup, came in to 9-2 after the Kempton display.

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