Betfair Chase  

Kauto Star - The Best Chaser Officially

North West Masters



Betfair Chase - Kauto Star is Awesome

1st 3 Kauto Star 11/10 FAV
2nd 1 Beef Or Salmon 4/1

Kauto Star

Kauto Star and Mick Fitzgerald

Neither Ruby Walsh, the winning rider, or trainer Paul Nicholls wanted to answer the question directly when speaking after the last race today, following Kauto Star’s easy victory in the £200,000 Grade One Betfair Chase earlier on at Haydock Park.

Ruby Walsh commented: “Kauto Star won the Betfair Chase easily - he beat Beef Or Salmon who is not at his best on this side of the water and did not meet Kicking King or War Of Attrition but he’s a very good horse.”

Trainer Paul Nicholls declared: “I have not seen him since the race but I am just about to go to the stables and look at him.

Kauto Star

Kauto Star and Mick Fitzgerald

“It was a brilliant performance, everything went right as he got the trip and jumped well.

“People were saying he was over-hyped beforehand but Kauto Star is a very good horse. He will go to the King George next, then probably something like the Aon (at Newbury in February) and Cheltenham for the Gold Cup - that will be it.

“His victory today was pleasing - we have just got to look after him now. Ruby’s face said it all today - he was so enthusiastic. Ruby said that he will be walking his box all day on Christmas Day!”


Ruby Walsh, the winning rider on easy Betfair Chase winner Kauto Star, celebrated more than usual as he pulled up, with a huge grin on his face, no doubt pleased that his judgement about Kauto Star’s staying capabilities had proved right.

Walsh said: “He’s some horse, isn’t he.”



Kauto Star, who this week has been described as a ‘possible talking horse’, proved this afternoon that the chatter was far from wrong when cruising home by 17 lengths from Beef Or Salmon to win the £200,000 Grade One Betfair Chase and is now on target for the Betfair Million bonus.

Winning trainer Paul Nicholls, who was completing a quick double at Haydock and treble on the day, said: “He is good isn’t he? When he won at Liverpool (last month over two and a half miles), I said that he was a Gold Cup horse and let’s go three miles now and Ruby [Walsh, winning jockey] and I both had no doubts that he would get the trip.

“I’ve been trying to make a Champion Chase horse out of a Gold Cup horse. He jumped much better over this distance as he has more time.

“We were both convinced that he’d get the trip and we wouldn’t have come here if we didn’t think that he would stay. However, reading the papers on the way up here, I had more and more doubts!”

Kauto Star won the two-mile Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown last season, but he won’t be going there during the current campaign.

“He won’t run in the Tingle Creek - he will go for the King George VI Chase and then the Gold Cup (the other two races that comprise the Betfair Million - he is 6/4 for the King George with Betfair and 4/1 with Betfair for the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup (9/2 with the sponsor)).

“Ruby’s face says it all - it’s a relief and the horse has answered all the questions himself.

“He has always been a very good horse and he’s only six and is amazing. He’s had little blips including his fall which meant that he didn’t run in the Arkle Chase [in 2005] and that might have been a plus as the ground was too quick and he might have got jarred up.

“I have always thought that he is really special and he’s answered it himself. Clifford Baker, my head lad, has ridden some good horses including See More Business, Azertyuiop, and Charter Party, and he has said that Kauto Star is the best horse that he has ridden.

“He looked awesome and Clifford has said don’t worry if it’s two or three miles. Three miles is where we will stay now and two miles was rushing him.”

Walsh added, sporting a massive grin: “That was every bit as easy as it looked. He is flipping special, isn’t he?”

1.50pm £200,000 BETFAIR CHASE (GRADE ONE) 3m

1. KAUTO STAR (FR) (Clive Smith) Paul Nicholls 6-11-08 Ruby Walsh 11/10 Fav
2. BEEF OR SALMON (IRE) (Joe Craig) Michael Hourigan IRE 10-11-08 Andrew McNamara 4/1
3. L'AMI (FR) (J P McManus) Francois Doumen FR 7-11-08 Tony McCoy 7/2
4. OLLIE MAGERN (Roger Nicholls) Nigel Twiston-Davies 8-11-08 Tony Evans 25/1
5. IRIS'S GIFT (Robert Lester) Jonjo O'Neill 9-11-08 Dominic Elsworth 16/1
6. KINGSCLIFF (IRE) (Arnie Sendell) Robert Alner 9-11-08 Robert Walford 7/1

Distances 17, 1, 3/4, dist, dist
Tote Win £2.20 Place £1.70, £2.20 Exacta £7.10



Beef or Salmon

Beef or Salmon

Trainer Michael Hourigan was more than satisfied with the effort of Beef Or Salmon, second in the £200,000 Betfair Chase for the second year in succession. He stayed on late to take the runner-up spot, a distant 17 lengths behind the winner Kauto Star.

Hourigan said: “It was a true run race today and Andrew (McNamara, jockey) said he was just stretching for his fences today.

“I’m very pleased, he has run a cracker. Maybe we have seen the Gold Cup winner today in Kauto Star.

“Our horse is four years older than the winner but I’m not making any excuses.

“This horse can pick £50,000 now and then so that’s not bad!

“He has been a great servant over the years.

“We will now be looking at Leopardstown with him again - the Lexus Chase and the Irish Hennessy will be his main targets.”


Ollie Magern

Ollie Magern


Ollie Magern ran his best race for sometime when finishing fourth behind Kauto Star in the Betfair Chase after making much of the running.

His owner Roger Nicholls said: “I am very pleased.

“He showed today that he is back to his old self.

“That was very entertaining today and I’m over the moon.

“I think the plan is for him to have a break now and come back after Christmas.”

Hourigan revealed today: "Beef Or Salmon worked yesterday and he's fine - I'm very happy with him. He's a year older but he's in grand form and we're looking forward to Saturday, all being well.

"He's better when the ground is soft so we just would like a bit of rain. The softer the better for him."

Beef Or Salmon has landed nine Grade One victories in a glittering career, and was a length and a quarter runner-up to the Robert Alner-trained Kingscliff in the inaugural Betfair Chase in 2005, with that year's totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup victor Kicking King in third.

The Joe Craig-owned star's latest triumph came in the Grade One James Nicholson Wine Merchant Champion Chase at Down Royal on November 4, when he defeated the 2006 totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup winner War Of Attrition by a neck.

Beef Or Salmon's Down Royal success came in the hands of Andrew McNamara who was partnering the gelding for the first time over fences, having ridden him twice previously over hurdles.

Hourigan, who also has Church Island entered in the race, commented: "Andrew (McNamara) gave him a good ride at Down Royal and hopefully we can have the same result at Haydock."



L`Ami (David Casey nearside)


Tony McCoy, rider of third-placed L’Ami, said: “He wasn’t good enough - he is a handicapper that is not very well handicapped.”

Robert Lester, owner of fifth-placed Iris’s Gift, said: “I am fairly disappointed and he emptied out quickly and it is back to the drawing board now. He was not really going but he will stay chasing.

“I would like to think that he has come out of the race okay and it all seems fine. He is still in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury next weekend and that is still a possible at this stage.

“We will get him home and see how he is.”

Robert Walford, rider of sixth-placed Kingscliff, said: “Of course I am disappointed. There is not a lot to say - he never travelled and I would say that nothing that ran in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby has run well since.

“Sir Rembrandt has run poorly since and they had hard races and I would put it down to that. I have no idea where he will run next.”

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