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Nicholls delighted with Kauto, concerned for injured Master Minded

Kauto Star is in the form of his life, according to his trainer; however, stable-mate Master Minded may never race again after picking up a tendon injury.

Image: Daniel Hambury/EMPICS Sport

WRITTEN OFF AND recommended for retirement, trainer Paul Nicholls has insisted that Kauto Star is actually “in the form of his life”.

The 11-year-old delighted and surprised many punters by claiming his fifth Kind George VI Chase win on Monday, beating pre-race favourite Long Run into second.

“He’s now won two races this year and both times has beaten the reigning champion Long Run. It was a fantastic day,” Nicholls told BBC Radio 5 Live (See The Daily Telegraph).

“Long Run is six and Kauto is 11 – it was just awesome by the horse. The way he has been training this autumn has been second to none. He was below par last year – I don’t know why – but he seems to be a horse at the top of his game at the age of 11.”

Writing for the Telegraph on Tuesday, jockey Tony McCoy ranked Kauto Star as the best National Hunt racer he has ever seen, describing his jumping as “flaultless” and “so fluent it probably won him the race”.

“Obviously his record speaks for itself – five King Georges, two Gold Cups, four Betfair Chases – he’s got to be top of the tree,” McCoy insisted, including Best Mate, Desert Orchid, Istabraq and Big Buck’s in his top five.

Nicholls, however, has also confirmed that eight-year-old Master Minded, who has twice won the Champion Chase at Cheltenham, may never run competitively again. The horse had surgery on a tendon injury he sustained at Kempton Park on Monday.

The trainer told Sky Sports: “It’s not a life-threatening injury but it looks like it’s a career-threatening injury. He’s got to stay at the veterinary hospital in Newmarket for a month and fingers crossed he’ll make a full recovery. If he can’t race again, he’ll have a fantastic home.”

READ - Class is permanent: Kauto Star wins King George VI Chase at Kempton

READ - Johnson to leave Ospreys and join Scotland’s management team

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