01/17/2011 12:45PM

Kauto's Star Dimmed at Kempton

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Star Perhaps the spirit of Desert Orchid watching on high from somewhere up in horsey heaven had something to do with it as Kauto failed in his bid to win an unprecedented fifth title in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Saturday. Had the 4-7 favorite won the 3-mile chase, he would have broken the deadlock he shared with Desert Orchid at four King George triumphs. Instead he finished third as Long Run prevailed by 12 lengths over his Nicky Henderson-trained stablemate Riverside Theatre with Kauto Star 7 lengths further back in third.
Kauto Star never looked comfortable on the good to soft ground. He tracked the pacesetting Nacarat for the first seven of the 18 fences but was not jumping particularly well under Tony McCoy. Second again entering the stretch, he blundered at the second last and fell back to third as the 9-2 Long Run cruised to victory under his amateur rider Sam Waley-Cohen, the son of winning owner Robert Waley-Cohen. Nacarat faded to fourth, 5 lengths behind Kauto Star.
Afterwards the favorite's trainer Paul Nicholls said that Kauto Star had bled during the race but did not offer that as an excuse for defeat. The race took its toll on two other participants as Forpadydeplasterer, pulled up before the twelfth fence, returned "a sick horse" according to his trainer Tom Cooper, failing to scope clean. The Nightingale, pulled up before the second last, was found to be suffering from a fibrillating heart.
Despite his defeat, Kauto Star is on track for an attempt at a third victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 15 when he will very likely meet Long Run again.