Kauto Star Novices' Chase
Grade 1, Kempton Park 14:05
£70,000 added,
4yo plus,
3m, Class 1  
Monday 26th December 2016

1 Royal Vacation 33/1
2 Virgilio 10/1
3 Amore Alato 8/1
10 ran Distances: 12l, 8l, 24l
TIME 5m 54.20s (slow by 0.20s)

Royal Vacation, trained by Colin Tizzard and carrying Cue Card's colours, was an extremely fortunate winner.

Royal Vacation
© Racehorse Photos
Royal Vacation

The 33/1 chance was a long way back in second as the very impressive Might Bite approached the final fence but the leader barely left the ground, taking a crashing fall.

That left Royal Vacation clear and any possible danger vanished when the third horse, Frodon, also fell at the last in a hugely dramatic conclusion to the Grade One contest.

Might Bite and Amore Alato soon saw off Minella Daddy for the lead and helped to cut out most of the running.

Favourite Anibale Fly had dropped to last of the remaining runners with a circuit to go before pulling up in the back straight.

In truth, he was by far the only runner to fail to get competitive as Daryl Jacob and Might Bite turned the screw in the back straight with the pair going further and further clear.

They were on the verge of putting down a big marker in the novice chase division only for disaster to strike at the last.

The eventual second was Virgilio who finished one spot ahead of Amore Alato.

Winning rider Paddy Brennan said: "I'd have accepted being second. His experience told early because they went extremely quick.

"One thing Colin said to me was to be positive. It some performance to win that race.

"I think it was the trip more than the blinkers that helped him."

Tizzard said: "He ran OK nine days ago and was staying on well that day. He has got lots of experience as a novice.

"Hopefully the other horses are fine. He would have been a good second, but we will take it.

"He has been all right. We put the blinkers on instead of the cheekpieces as he looks about a bit.

"He has hardly had a blow and he has just won a Grade One. We will take that. I don't think we will leave him three months before the Festival, he will have one more run somewhere.

"He has been a good jumper. I wanted Paddy to make the running, but he might not have been fast enough to get there. His jumping is pretty foolproof."

Owner Jean Bishop said: "We thought he'd run well. I'm sorry about the one that fell, but that's what happens. He'd have been a good second anyway."

Henderson said of Might Bite: "He seems OK. Daryl is as a well. His pride's a little dented, but he'll be fine."

Meanwhile, Johnny Farrelly was pleased to get third place with Amore Alato.

The trainer said: "We've picked up some prize money in a Grade One and it is nice for Sarah (Faulks, owner) as she owns the dam, so it is good for the pedigree.

"We will take him home and see how he is. We will give him a little break until the spring.

"We will keep him to this trip or maybe go a bit further, as he would have no problems getting further.

"A stiff three miles suits him better."

William Hill

Kauto Star Novices' Chase
(Formerly The Feltham Novices' Chase) (Grade 1)
£70,000 added, 4yo plus, 3m, Class 1,
10 ran
Going: Good, Good to Soft in places

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Royal Vacation (IRE) 33/1 P J Brennan
11-7
C L Tizzard 6
2nd 12 Virgilio (FR) 10/1 Harry Skelton
11-7
D Skelton 7
3rd 8 Amore Alato 8/1 R Johnson
11-7
J Farrelly 7
4th 24 Present Man (IRE) 10/1 Jack Sherwood
11-7
P F Nicholls 6
PU Anibale Fly (FR) 3/1f B J Geraghty
11-7
A J Martin 6
PU Caracci Apache (IRE) 33/1 N D Fehily
11-7
N J Henderson 6
PU Minella Daddy (IRE) 11/2 Sean Bowen
11-7
P Bowen 6
F Churchtown Champ (IRE) 20/1 T Scudamore
11-7
D Skelton 6
F Might Bite (IRE) 11/2 D A Jacob
11-7
N J Henderson 7
F Frodon (FR) 10/3 Sam Twiston-Davies
11-0
P F Nicholls 4