Paul Nicholls has Kauto Star fighting fit

Paul Nicholls has never seen conditions as bad at his Ditcheat stables as Kauto Star limbers up for the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton.

The champion trainer's string have been forced inside in recent days due to snow, but he at least managed to get the brilliant ten-year-old up his famous hill yesterday morning.

But despite the interruptions, Nicholls believes the four-times King George winner will want for nothing on Boxing Day.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"It's the worst weather we've had at home by a long way - we have never had snow lying on the ground like this - and apart from our gallops, nothing has been salted and you can't ride them (horses] anywhere," said Nicholls.

"The only day we couldn't work them at all was Friday, but we've been able to get them on the horsewalker for a couple of hours, that sort of thing. But Kauto was out this morning and he did his couple of canters up the hill.

"We're back to normal now and for Kauto there'll be no excuses for fitness."

Kempton's clerk of the course Barney Clifford must now worry mainly about the weather forecast after a peek under the covers on the jumps course revealed good news. Clifford has kept the grass under wraps for some days now in an attempt to thwart the cold in time for the weekend.

"I had a look with some of the jockeys, including Sam Thomas, and the ground is perfectly raceable," said Clifford. "As a going report I would say it is just on the slow side of good.

"Now we've got the other problems to deal with, such as the snow, but I would say at least half the volume of snow has melted. It could be snowing or sleeting tonight and we're taking the approach of taking it day by day."

Amy Starkey, Kempton's managing director, added: "We will be doing everything we can to get racing on for Boxing Day.

"Luckily we've had to deal with snow before, so we've been able to build up relationships.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We would be able to get three JCBs in to clear snow if we needed to, and everyone here is so committed to working as hard as possible.

"If Boxing Day has to be abandoned, there can be arrangements made to run the King George and the Christmas Hurdle the following day."