The Boxing Day meeting at Kempton may be headlined by the King George VI Chase but this Novices Chase is amongst the racing highlights in a packed day of racing.
First run in 1975, this contest was originally known as the Feltham Novices Chase before being renamed after the five-time King George winner Kauto Star in 2012.
Some top class horses have been victorious in this race before having glittering racing careers. In recent times these include Long Run and Coneygree who both went on to win Cheltenham’s Gold Cup.
Kauto Star Novices’ Chase Past Winners
|2020||Shan Blue||7/4||Dan Skelton||Harry Skelton|
|2019||Slate House||3/1||Colin Tizzard||Robbie Power|
|2018||La Bague Au Roi||8/1||Warren Greatrex||Richard Johnson|
|2017||Black Corton||4/1||Paul Nicholls||Bryony Frost|
|2016||Royal Vacation||33/1||Colin Tizzard||Paddy Brennan|
|2015||Tea For Two||9/4||Nick Williams||Lizzie Kelly|
|2014||Coneygree||10/3||Mark Bradstock||Nico de Boinville|
|2013||Annacotty||12/1||Martin Keighley||Ian Popham|
|2012||Dynaste||8/13||David Pipe||Tom Scudamore|
|2011||Grand Crus||6/5||David Pipe||Tom Scudamore|
About the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase: Kempton Honours All-Time Great
Boxing Day at Kempton Park racecourse will of course forever be associated with one of the most famous National Hunt contests of the year, in the shape of the jumping and staying giant that is the King George VI Chase. Every feature event needs a quality supporting cast though, and topping the bill in that regard at the festive offering from the Sussex venue is this Grade 1 event for the novice chasers.
Open to chasers aged four and older, and held over a trip of three miles, this event first took place in 1975 when coming into being as the Feltham Novices Chase – Feltham referring to the nearby town of that name. As nice as Feltham undoubtedly is, it doesn’t have quite the racing relevance ascribed to one of the greatest chasers in the history of the sport. A superstar so good that he won the King George VI Chase on no fewer than five occasions. That horse was of course the mighty Kauto Star. Having first had his name added to the title of the race in 2012, the contest was then officially named in his honour in 2013.
Modern Greats Top The Training Pile
With 16 British trainers’ titles between them, it is never too surprising to see the names of perennial rivals Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls towards the head of the trainers table for any given National Hunt contest, and it is they who are out in front here.
It is Nicky Henderson who just leads the way at present, with the pick of his five winners to date being subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup and King George VI Chase winner Long Run, who came home in front in 2009.
Considering Paul Nicholls was the trainer of the magnificent chaser in whose honour this contest is named, it would be somewhat apt were he to hold the record for the most wins by a trainer. Only one behind Henderson as of 2019, he may yet get his nose in front in due course.
As impressive as the exploits of the trainers, and of course the horses themselves has been in this race, one of the main reasons that the event will forever be remembered in the history books concerns the winning rider in the 2015 edition of the contest.
That rider was Lizzie Kelly whose success aboard the Nick Williams-trained Tea For Two made her the first female rider to win a British Grade 1 event in the history of the sport.
2015 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase Full Result
|1||Tea For Two||Lizzie Kelly||Nick Williams||9/4|
|2||Southfield Royale||Noel Fehilly||Neil Mulholland||11/2|
|3||Native River||Brendan Powell||Colin Tizzard||6/4|
|4||L’Unique||Wayne Hutchinson||Alan King||25/1|
|5||Net D’Ecosse||Bryan Cooper||Willie Mullins||16/1|
|6||Bally Beaufort||Ryan Hatch||Nigel Twiston-Davies||10/1|
|Fell||As De Mee||Sam Twiston-Davies||Paul Nicholls||10/1|
Six Year Old’s On Top
Open to all novice chasers aged four years and older, it is the six year olds who boast much the best record in this race in terms of numbers of wins, with over half of the editions to have been run to date being landed by a runner from that age bracket.
The aforementioned Long Run (2009) remains the only four year old (as of 2019) to come home in front – indicating that it takes a pretty special individual to be ready for this challenge at so young an age. Von Trappe (1985) and Joe Lively (2007) share the distinction of being the oldest winners in the history of the event (again as of 2019), having been eight years of age at the time of their success.