Kauto Star aimed at Haydock return in November

Kauto Star at his Shepton Mallet stable
Kauto Star has a collection of big-race victories

Trainer Paul Nicholls says dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Kauto Star is "in great order" and could return in Haydock's Betfair Chase on 19 November.

Owner Clive Smith indicated the record-breaking horse was nearing retirement after a defeat at Punchestown in May.

But Nicholls told his website:external-link" Kauto Star has been back in training for a few weeks now and all the signs remain positive that he is in great order."

The 11-year-old would be seeking to win the Haydock race for the fourth time.

A four-time winner of the King George VI Chase at Kempton, Kauto Star suffered a shock defeat to Long Run when seeking a fifth consecutive win in December 2010.

He ran well for a long time before finishing third to Long Run in the Gold Cup in March but flopped when sent over to Ireland, prompting speculation about his future.

"He absolutely loves being in training and getting all the attention and, after the service he has given us and National Hunt racing, he deserves at least that," said Nicholls.

"In hindsight he should never have gone to Ireland, after his heroics in the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup, but he remains one of the best in training on that Gold Cup form.

"All being well between now and the end of November he will head to Haydock for the Betfair Chase for a clash with his Cheltenham conqueror Long Run.

"The run at Haydock should tell us all we need to know about his future and we can make any decisions after that."