Racing: Kauto Star has stamina to graduate in big test

Such is the quality and fascination of events in Britain and Ireland this weekend that any racegoer who suffers from decidophobia might be advised to take a short break abroad. With horses like Kauto Star, Beef Or Salmon, Kingscliff, Racing Demon, Dempsey, Mighty Man, Hardy Eustace, Desert Quest, Clan Royal, Newmill, Asian Maze, Iktitaf and Brave Inca just a few of those in action today and tomorrow it really is a case of blink and you may miss it.

The focus at Haydock is on one of racing's newer promotional sponsorship ventures. A £1m bonus is on offer to any horse who can complete the treble in today's Betfair Chase, then either next month's King George VI Chase at Kempton or Lexus Chase at Leopardstown, and finally the Cheltenham Gold Cup. But the death of Desert Orchid earlier this week was something of a reminder that while sexy sums of money are all very well, the best public relations ally that this sport can have is a top-quality, charismatic performer.

Kauto Star is one who might one day fit that description, a good, upwardly mobile performer who just could be a special one. He has the looks - he is an upstanding bright bay with a distinctive white blaze - and potentially the talent. Today - his first try at as long as three miles - is his test-run for the King George. It is also the first time he's been allowed out to play with the big boys.

The opposition will test him thoroughly and should he overcome it, he will be entitled to be regarded as a serious chasing talent, even at this early stage of his career. Kingscliff, a big, bruising, heavyweight, won this race last year and enters today's fray off a wholly satisfactory seasonal debut at Wetherby. The Irish raider Beef Or Salmon, second 12 months ago, has already won nine Grade 1 contests; victory today would put him third on the all-time list, behind Istabraq (14) and Moscow Flyer (13). And from France comes L'Ami, fourth in the most recent Gold Cup and sharpened by a prep at Auteuil two weeks ago.

The likely soft ground will inconvenience neither Beef Or Salmon nor L'Ami. Nor should it Kauto Star (1.50), who has won in his native France at Auteuil and Enghien on tres collant, which normally translates as "Passchendaele". The six-year-old is taken to cope with the new stamina demands and the strength of the opposition, and announce his arrival in the premiership.

At Huntingdon, another young player in the "King George" frame has a little more to prove. Racing Demon, through no real fault of his own, has been dangerously burdened by hype; circumstances forced upon him the tag of being the "next Best Mate" (he is from the same stable as the late triple Gold Cup winner) but his brilliance is more potential than actual as yet.

His trainer, Henrietta Knight, has won six of the last nine Peterborough Chases, but the more battle-hardened Thisthatandtother (3.00), coming back from a minor injury and better treated than when he was third last year, can make it a feature chase double for the Paul Nicholls string.

Hurdlers take centre stage at Ascot. The former dual champion Hardy Eustace has sidestepped a clash with the reigning two-mile king at Punchestown tomorrow and though the veteran still lives up to the adjectival part of his name there are now younger legs out there on the park and he may have to give best to last season's top-rated stayer Mighty Man (1.35).

With deteriorating underfoot conditions not likely to be in Chilling Place's favour in the feature handicap chase, progressive Knowhere (1.05) may gain swift compensation for a novicey fall in a much better race a week ago. Back at Haydock, Jazz d'Estruval (2.20, nap), who goes well fresh, can take the day's most valuable handicap.

With Tony McCoy claimed for twice Grand National-placed Clan Royal in the Becher Chase at Aintree tomorrow, Barry Geraghty has come in for the plum ride on Brave Inca, who begins his title defence in the Morgiana Hurdle tomorrow at Punchestown with young pretender Iktitaf and star mare Asian Maze thoroughly worthy opponents.

Chris McGrath

Nap: Asudo (Ascot 2.35)

NB: Strike Back (Haydock 3.20)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

KS1 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Supply Teacher re...

KS2 Teaching Supply Wakefield

£140 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...

Year 1/2 Teacher

£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...

Primary Teachers Needed for Supply in Wakefield

£140 - £160 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1&2 Supply Te...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam