The hugely popular veteran chaser Kauto Star has been very well supported in recent days as punters pin their hopes on the Paul Nicholls-trained 11-year-old repeating his recent win at Haydock when he bids for an unprecedented fifth success in the race in the Grade 1 William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, writes Elliot Slater.

Most people had written off the former dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner after his very disappointing final run of last term when pulling up at Punchestown in May and had expected Clive Smith’s great warrior to be granted an honourable retirement, but Nicholls insisted that the French bred gelding was still showing all his old enthusiasm in training sessions at home and was determined to prove that Kauto Star could still mix it at the highest level. People looking at the best Cheltenham Festival betting online will be keeping an eye on him.

With reigning champion Long Run in the field and sent off a hot favourite few people chose to invest in Kauto Star at Haydock last month in the three-mile Grade 1 Betfair Chase, (a race the horse had won on three previous occasions on his seasonal reappearance), but they were left open-mouthed as Ruby Walsh’s charge jumped off in front and showed a clean pair of heels to his much younger rivals, even Long Run, (who closed up at the second from home), proving unable to quicken with his senior foe.

Given a reception in the Haydock winners enclosure the like of which has rarely ever been heard at the Lancashire venue, Kauto Star has now re-emerged as the main threat to Long Run at Kempton and punters voting both with their heads and their hearts have forced the odds of Nicholls’ star down to a best price of 7/2. Long Run remains a strong favourite at a top price 11/8 in a race that has the whole of the racing industry foaming at the mouth in anticipation.

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