Saturday 19th November 2011. BETFAIR CHASE
Long Run was favourite after winning the 2011 King George Chase and 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup beating Kauto Star both times when in top peak form. Kauto Star finished third in both those races behind Long Run at the age of 11 years old.
Many thought it was the end of the road after being sent to Punchestown for the Guinness Gold Cup when Kauto Star never travelled and Ruby Walsh pulled the horse up five fences from home. This was the first time Kauto Star had given such a poor performance in his career and many thought that maybe age was catching up with Kauto Star.
However, Paul Nicholls gave Kauto Star six months break before returning and trying to make history by landing a fourth Betfair Chase. But all the stats were against Kauto Star this time, with his last run pulled up and rising nearly the age of 12 against the young contender Long Run was a big task. Long Run had his measure twice already in both the King George Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Kauto Star was priced up at 6/1 come post time whereas Long Run 6/5 favourite, who was in the form of his life. Kauto Star looked a million dollars and bowled off along in front from the start, possibly the only way he was going to beat Long Run.
Kauto Star jumped from fence to fence, never missing a beat and continuously out jumped Long Run at every fence. Down the back straight the crowd began to cheer the old boy on, The roar of the crowd made my hairs stand up on my neck.
I backed Kauto Star £20 e/w this day and when they rounded the home bend Sam Waley-Cohen began to drive Long Run along to close down the gap whilst Ruby Walsh was still sat motionless in the lead. Coming down to three out Ruby Walsh met a good stride and Kauto Star produced another fine leap to maintain the lead over his fellow rival. Two out, Kauto Star produced another great jump and Long Run jumped it well also, managing to get within a couple of lengths.
The crowd was screaming Kauto Star on down to the last fence and myself, was shouting at the television cheering on Kauto Star to keep up the gallop and it was down the last fence, everyone held their breath. Long Run was closing down the gap to within one length. Kauto Star was vigorously ridden and under the whip.
Kauto Star produced a leap of champions, thrown at the last fence by Ruby Walsh producing another fantastic jump and powered clear to beat Long Run by 8 lengths. The commentator on Racing UK saying “the old king still has one hand on the crown”. Kauto Star lands his fourth Betfair Chase to complete one of the greatest comebacks of all time when everyone had written the dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner off.
Kauto Star returned SP 6/1 and made history at Haydock Park Racecourse. Any horse racing fan would have watched this race and had a tear in their eyes because I certainly did. This is a performance I will never forget.
The “extra-terrestrial” Kauto Star. Why not watch the race here.
Do you have one past performance you will never forget in jump’s racing? Or one that stand’s out in particular? Comment and share it below!
I hope you have enjoyed this week’s blog.