Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Million Reasons Why Kauto Can Be Star of the Big Show

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Million Reasons Why Kauto Can Be Star of the Big Show

Article excerpt

Byline: WILL HAYLER

JUST how good could Kauto Star be? Hopefully racing fans will get the answer to that question when the Paul Nicholls-trained chaser lines up among six of the best in Haydock's Betfair Chase.

Tomorrow's top-class contest is the first leg of the Betfair Million, where a [pounds sterling]1million bonus will be paid to connections of any horse who triumphs at Haydock, then goes on to win Kempton's King George VI Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Punters who formulate their own ratings based upon racecourse performance found that their calculators were left with steam coming out of them when trying to assess KAUTO STAR'S victory in Aintree's Old Roan Chase last time out.

His 21-length victory over the ultraconsistent Armaturk who went into the event on an official rating of 158 - puts him somewhere near the hallowed ranks of the all-time greats.

In case you were tempted to dismiss that run as a fluke, Armaturk came out at Cheltenham last week and ran a blinder to finish second in a hot twomile handicap.

That was Kauto Star's first attempt at two and a half miles in Britain and doubts about his stamina saw him sent off at even-money, longer odds than many had forecast.

Now that he goes up in trip again, this time to three miles, the same doubts will ensure that he starts at backable odds of around 6-4.

These concerns are not to be taken lightly, particularly with the ground riding on the soft side and Haydock represents a stiff test of any horse's stamina and jumping skills.

The price doesn't represent massive value, but despite the proven quality among the quintet who oppose him, I wouldn't want to be betting against a horse with as much potential as Kauto Star.

Nicholls is confident his charge will see out the trip and he certainly didn't seem to be stopping in the final stages of his Aintree romp. …

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