Kauto Star Novices’ Chase

The Kauto Star Novices’ Chase is a Grade 1 steeplechase run over 3 miles at Kempton on Boxing Day. As the name suggests, the race is restricted to ‘novice’ steeplechasers which, in this case, means horses aged four years and upwards who, prior to the start of the current season, have yet to win a steeplechase.

The Kauto Star Novices’ Chase was inaugurated, as the Feltham Novices’ Chase, in 1975, but the name of Nigel Clark, late president of Kempton Park, was added to the race title in 2007. Likewise, the name of Kauto Star, who won the King George VI Chase five times from six attempts between 2006 and 2011, was added to the race title following his retirment from racing in October, 2012. The latter name change was made permanent the following year, such that the race has been run as the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (In Memory Of Nigel Clark) ever since.

Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson, who, between them, have farmed the National Hunt Trainers’ Championship since the retirement of Martin Pipe, are the leading trainers in the history of the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase, with five wins apiece. Nicholls, though, has been the more successful of the pair in recent seasons, having saddled Black Corton (2017) and Bravemansgame (2021)

In 2015, the now-retired Lizzie Kelly made turf history by winning the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase on Tea For Two, trained by Nick Williams; in so doing, she became the first female jockey to win a Grade 1 race over obstacles in Britain. Other notable winners in recent years include Long Run (2009), who went on win the King George VI Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup in the 2011/12 season, and Coneygree (2014) who, less than three months later, became the first novice to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup since Captain Christy in 1974.

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