Walsh back on board Kauto Star

One of steeplechasing’s great teams is reunited at Haydock for the Betfair Chase. Ruby Walsh returns to partner the legend Kauto Star.

Twice winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and four times winner of the King George VI Chase, Kauto Star needs a strong showing to convince observers that he isn’t nearing the end of his chasing career.

Trainer Paul Nicholls has told race fans not to mention retirement just yet, and is hopeful that a decent performance against the 2011 Gold Cup winner Long Run can put Kauto Star back on track.

Kauto Star last ran in April, where he was pulled up after struggling at Punchestown, but Nicholls believes there is still more surprises to come from the old star. "Kauto Star looks fantastic at the moment," the trainer reported. "He is as alert as ever at home, never missing a trick. He has been working with all his customary verve and enthusiasm and goes to Haydock 100% fit and well."

Those attracted by the generous 8-1 odds on offer for Kauto Star to beat Long Run, might be persuaded by knowing that Walsh is on board. "It makes sense for Ruby to partner Kauto Star," Nicholls told Betfair. Having a familiar jockey on board just might inspire Kauto Star to remember what a great racehorse he is.

After Kauto Star’s victory in the 2009 Gold Cup, Walsh described the horse as the greatest he had ever ridden. Whether Haydock proves to be Kauto Star’s final race, or the preparation for another attempt at the King George, it’s fitting that Walsh is the man in the saddle.

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