A Right Royal Romp!
Down Royal may have escaped a hurricane, but a pair of fantastic Nicholls-trained chasers ravaged the Emerald turf in a fashion no tornado was ever capable on Saturday.
Kauto Star proved that the Gold Cup horror had not knocked his confidence with an excellent comeback victory in the JNwine Champion Chase - now all roads lead to Kempton for a fifth King George triumph, with a possible appearance at Newbury en-route. William Hill remain unchanged in antepost markets for their Boxing Day celebration, with the 14-time Grade 1 winner priced at 7-4 favouritism.
Henry De Bromhead's faith was justified when the three-mile distance proved within Sizing Europe's compass, the Arkle winner installed at 14-1 for Kempton's festive showpiece.
Meanwhile, it was a right Royal romp for The Nightingale, who, displaying some impressive jumping throughout, landed the following Grade 2 Chase to the tune of eleven lengths, the seven-year-old progressing out of novice company with ease.
Lucy Rhodes, spokeswoman for William Hill, said: ‘Kauto Star has captured the hearts and minds of the nation throughout his six seasons on these shores, solidifying himself in the history books. His Down Royal stint was a nice refresher for this year's campaign, with a fifth King George crown his first main target. Raise your scarves high - the King is back.'
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William Hill King George VI Chase: 7-4 Kauto Star, 5-1 Long Run, 8-1 Imperial Commander, What A Friend, 12-1 Planet of Sound, Somersby, 14-1 Poquelin, Punchestowns, Sizing Europe [installed] 16-1 Albertas Run, Cooldine, Forpadydeplasterer, Neptune Collonges, 20-1 Burton Port, Joncol, Weird Al, 25-1 Pandorama, Riverside Theatre, 33-1 J'y Vole, The Nightingale (EW ¼ 1,2,3)
Gold Cup 2011: 4-1 Kauto Star, 5-1 Imperial Commander, 8-1 Denman, 10-1 What A Friend, 12-1 Big Bucks, 16-1 Long Run, Neptune Collonges, Punchestowns, 20-1 Burton Port, Cooldine, Joncol, Weird Al, 25-1 Diamond Harry, Mad Max, Pandorama, 33-1 Planet of Sound, The Nightingale, (EW 1/4 1,2,3)
Hennessy Gold Cup: 5-1 Denman, 11-2 What A Friend, 7-1 Diamond Harry, Kauto Star, Weird Al, 8-1 Pandorama, 10-1 Burton Port, 12-1 Carruthers, Duc de Regniere, Neptune Collonges, 14-1 Barbers Shop, China Rock, Silver by Nature, Taranis, 16-1 Madison du Berlais, 20-1 BAR