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.
Next Race: Sunday, 26th December 2021
The next race is scheduled to run on 26th December 2021. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 26th December 2020
- Winner: Shan Blue
- SP: 7/4
- Trainer: Dan Skelton
- Jockey: Harry Skelton
3m is the trip for this Grade 1 Novice Chase contest which acts as the main supporting act on Kempton’s Boxing Day King George VI Chase card. Set to be run on good to soft going this year, the race offers £80,000 in total prize money and is set to be a cracker.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Good to soft||3m||Grade 1||£80,000||10 Runners||1/5 1-3|
Kauto Star Novices’ Chase Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2020. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
Nicky Henderson leads the way in this event with a total of five previous wins. 2009 was the last time the master of Seven Barrows saddled the winner though, and he won’t be adding to his tally this year as a little surprisingly, he doesn’t hold an entry. Snapping at his heels on four successes, is long-time rival, Paul Nicholls, who sends Enrilo into battle this time around.
Three is the magic number for the jockeys here, with Tony McCoy, Richard Dunwoody and Mick Fitzgerald having all bagged a hattrick of successes in the event over the course of their careers. Not a bad trio, and bidding to join them this year is two-time winner, Tom Scudamore, who gest the leg up on One For The Team for Nick Williams.
The market leader has come home in front three times in the past 10 editions of this, but with the odds of those winners being 8/13, 6/5 and 11/8, supporters of the jolly will still have been out of pocket to the tune of £3.81 to £1 level stakes.
|Shan Blue||2/1||152||Dan Skelton||Harry Skelton|
|The Big Breakaway||5/2||148||Colin Tizzard||Robbie Power|
|Enrilo||9/2||140||Paul Nicholls||Harry Cobden|
Shan Blue – 2/1
Formerly based in the Paul Nicholls yard, his former boss’ deft touch in this event hasn’t yet rubbed off on Dan Skelton. In fact things couldn’t have gone too much worse for the Warwickshire handler, with his five runners in the race to date having returned fairly uninspiring form figures of PUP2F. If the market is to be believed though, those figures have every chance of improving this year, as it is the Skelton-trained six year old, Shan Blue, who has made his way to the head of the market.
Always seemingly held in high regard by his trainer, this son of Shantou showed signs of promise over the smaller obstacles last season, without really suggesting he was going to make his presence felt at the very top table. That was an opinion well illustrated when he managed only a plodding 27l sixth in the Ballymore Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in his sole start in Grade 1 company.
It was always thought that this one would prove a significantly better animal over fences though, and in two starts so far this season he has backed up that assessment. Firstly he impressed when winning in a 14l canter over 2m3½f at Wetherby, and latterly when putting 10 lengths between himself and the field over 3m at that same track last time out. This is a significant step up in class from Class 4 company, so he does need to find more, but if as good as he has looked in those two recent starts, this bold jumper may take some stopping.
The Big Breakaway – 5/2
When the trainer of Cue Card, Thistlecrack, Native River and other top notch mounts touts a horse as potentially the best chaser he has trained, it is probably worth sticking the animal in question into your horse tracker. The horse to earn that loftiest of assessments is Tizzard’s Getaway gelding, The Big Breakaway. This five year old clearly has a long way to go to match the achievements of the illustrious trio mentioned, but has started well and looks to take a big step up the ladder in what will be his third start over fences here.
An easy winner over hurdles on his first two outings for the yard, he rounded off last season with a solid fourth behind three of his elders in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. It did always look as though jumping a fence over staying distances would be the making of him though, and he duly delivered over 3m at Cheltenham on his chase debut in November.
His effort last time out when beaten over 2m3f at Exeter however wasn’t so good, although conceding 8lbs to the field he still emerged as the best horse in the race and simply looked to be outpaced close home over that inadequate trip. He does nevertheless have something to prove for now, but this step back up in trip ought to show him in a much better light.
Enrilo – 9/2
Paul Nicholls has a few in the yard who could well have taken a shot at this prize, and it therefore looks interesting that he relies solely on the six year old, Enrilo, particularly considering the trainer’s solid record in the race. Smart in winning two of four over hurdles, including in Grade 2 company at Chepstow, he didn’t quite cut it in his sole Grade 1 outing over the smaller obstacles, but wouldn’t be the first horse to subsequently go on to scale the heights over fences.
Overall, his two chase starts to date have shown definite signs of encouragement. He was beaten on his seasonal return at Chepstow, but considering that was his first outing in 286 days, and also his first outing since a wind op, it was reasonable to expect him to come on for the run.
And come on he did when scoring in comfortable fashion last time out over this trip at Exeter. The winning margin that day was only a 1½l, but he was value for a good bit more than that having been eased down close home, and did still have the look of a horse not quite at peak fitness. Our one concern would be the fact that he drifted left in the closing stages that day, which isn’t an ideal trait to have at a right-handed track, but other than that he would look to have solid claims at what seems a fair enough price.
Kauto Star Novices’ Chase 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.