Kauto unbeatable, declares McCoy

Rival jockey predicts only the weather can prevent fourth King George victory

If it is true that jockeys are as bad at tipping as urban myth says they are, then perhaps that does not bode well for Kauto Star's chances of winning an unprecedented fourth consecutive King George VI Chase. It was no great surprise to hear yesterday that his own rider, Ruby Walsh, is not contemplating defeat for the great nine-year-old on Boxing Day. And maybe none, either, that his views are echoed by his good friend and colleague Tony McCoy, who will be on last year's eight-length runner-up Albertas Run and who is nothing if not pragmatic about what is written in the formbook.

"Only the weather can upset him," McCoy said yesterday. "He's an outstanding racehorse and looks impossible to beat. But Albertas Run was a good second to him a year ago and that should give him a good chance of being in the money again."

Walsh feels that the gelding, who inched home from Imperial Commander at Haydock last month, is possibly even better this time round. "I felt he would definitely improve a lot for that first run," he said, "and Paul [Nicholls, Kauto Star's trainer], who sees him every morning, says he has, so I'll take his word for it. Clifford Baker, who rides him in his work, is happy and if he is, I am too. I can't wait for the race to come around."

Kauto Star has won the last three editions of the Grade One midwinter championship by an aggregate 27 lengths, but there is no shortage of rivals to take him on. He may face his largest collection of opponents yet round Kempton's three miles; previously he has prevailed in fields of 10, seven and nine, but 14 were declared at the penultimate stage yesterday.

David Pipe intends to send two to the fray, Madison Du Berlais and the veteran Our Vic, runner-up two years ago. Madison Du Berlais' rapid strides through the ranks last season included a defeat of Kauto Star's stablemate Denman over Saturday's course and distance and he opened this term's campaign with a ring-rusty, distant third behind the champion at Haydock. "He never performs to his best first time out," Pipe said. "And yes, he's got to improve a lot for that run as he was beaten a long way. But he's proved he's up to these top-class races and he's run well round Kempton before."

Ireland's equivalent contest, the Lexus Chase on Monday, attracted a field of 13 yesterday, though the five from Britain will be only four if the King George goes ahead as Imperial Commander remained on the Leopardstown list only as a precaution. The raiding party comprises What A Friend, Money Trix, Voy Por Ustedes and Cloudy Lane. Joncol heads the home defence.

Turf account: Sue Montgomery

Nap

Stravita (2.25 Southwell)

Won this last year off the same mark, looks to have been targeted for a repeat by her shrewd yard and should now be straight enough with three runs under her girth.



Next best

Secretive (12.25 Southwell)

Well-related son of Selkirk making a belated debut. Can add to his stable's good record in this type of race.



One to watch

Quartano (W J Greatrex) has got his career back on track since being stepped up in trip and is on a most tempting mark should he be aimed down the handicap route.



Where the money's going

Deep Purple is 11-2 from 7-1 with Paddy Power in the "without Kauto Star" market for the King George.



Chris McGrath's Nap

Nightjar (12.55 Southwell).

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup