Paul Nicholls eyes more Kauto Star success

Paul Nicholls says Kauto Star's emphatic victory in the Betfair Chase on Saturday was one of the best runs of his career.

The 11-year-old double Gold Cup winner produced an outstanding performance, winning by 11 lengths from Long Run.

"All the doubters had a pill to swallow on Saturday, and a big one.

"I never dreamed he'd win, I thought he'd run a nice race, but that was one of his best performances ever," Nicholls told BBC Points West.

"He's a one off, horse of a lifetime, a horse of a generation."

The 6-1 shot had gone off amidst speculation that a poor performance could mark the end of his glittering career, but Nicholls said he was confident of the horse's ability.

"We know him better than anyone and I would not have run him if I didn't think he'd give a good account of himself.

"He was awesome. He's run the race four times now and that was ten seconds faster than any of the other previous occasions. So you could say he's probably at his best."

And the 2007 and 2009 Gold Cup winner could now be set for a Boxing Day outing in the King George VI Chase, a race he has already won on four previous occasions.

"That was not his swan song, with that sort of form there's another run or two in him, but I want to run him in the same sort of form as Saturday, very fit, very fresh.

"We won't make any decisions until further down the line - Kempton on Boxing Day [for the King George] is a possibiilty. Otherwise he'll go straight to the Gold Cup.

"We'll see how he is. Being older I imagine he'll take a bit longer to get over a race but he always breaks the rules so we'll see. [Racing at] Kempton on Boxing Day for the King George is a possibility, otherwise it's straight to the Gold Cup."

And Nicholls admitted that there was a chance Kauto's stablemate, Denman, could also be set to return to Gold Cup action, depending on his performance at Leopardstown over Christmas.

"You never know, it could just be the year where you get Long Run, Kauto and Denman jumping the last together again."