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Kauto Star Novices' Chase - 26th December, 2014

Saphir Du Rheu bounced back from a fall on his chasing debut by winning an Exeter contest with aplomb and now the Paul Nicholls-trained raider will aim to sparkle at Kempton Park on Boxing Day and is a red-hot favourite for the Kauto Star Novices' Chase.

On a day that will see the King George VI Chase and Christmas Hurdle take centre stage, the Ditcheat team will be aiming to shine in this Grade 1 that is often a trial for the RSA Chase and the manner in which Saphir Du Rheu eased to victory at Exeter suggested that he could be potentially top class.

However, he will have some notable rivals and Virak will be the second shot fired by the Nicholls gun and he has racked a trio of wins over the larger obstacles and was seen landing a Grade 2 prize last time out, but stable jockey Sam Twiston-Davies has opted to pilot Saphir Du Rheu.

Coneygree returned off a lengthy absence with a fine victory in the Berkshire Novices' Chase at Newbury and if he improves on that first start for years then he has to be considered a lively player in what is a thrilling race on a tremendous festive card on Friday afternoon.

Of the others, Sausalito Sunrise was unable to land a blow on Kings Palace at Cheltenham and will need to improve here, whilst the likes of Carraig Mor and Creepy are another interesting duo that take their chance in what should be an informative renewal.

Latest Betting for 2014 Kauto Star Novices' Chase

11/10 Saphir Du Rheu

9/2 Coneygree

5/1 Virak

8/1 Sauslito Sunrise

9/1 Carraig Mor

14/1 Creepy

33/1 Warden Hill

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Feltham Novices' Chase History

The Feltham Novices' Chase is a Grade One race run at Kempton Park on Boxing Day over three miles for horses aged four years or older.

One of the highlights of the King George VI Chase meeting around the Christmas period, this race attracts some leading novice chasers who are looking to use it as a springboard to bigger and better things.

Some horses that have managed to win the Feltham Novices' Chase include the Martin Pipe-trained Gloria Victis, who was a classy winner of the 1999 renewal, whilst Paul Nicholls' Strong Flow had already bagged Hennessy Gold Cup glory in 2003 before notching up more Grade One success in this contest.

Bacchanal, Ollie Magern and Joe Lively are just another trio of classy winners of the Feltham Novices' Chase, but there is one name that stands out from the illustrious roll of honur and that is the Nicky Henderson-trained Long Run.

A classy performer in France, Robert Waley-Cohen brought the youngster over to the UK and on his first start he duly hacked up in the 2009 Feltham Novices' Chase by 13 lengths.�

However, it would just be the spark that would ignite a future star and the Seven Barrows inmate went on to not only bag King George VI Chase success in 2011, but would see him etch his name in national hunt history by going on to win the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup in maginficent style beating Kauto Star and Denman in a thrilling race.

Recent Winner of Feltham Novices' Chase

  • 2000 - Bacchanal
  • 2001 - Maximise
  • 2002 - Jair Du Cochet
  • 2003 - Strong Flow
  • 2004 - Ollie Magern
  • 2005 - Darkness
  • 2006 - Ungaro
  • 2007 - Joe Lively
  • 2008 - Breedsbreeze
  • 2009 - Long Run
  • 2010 - No Race
  • 2011 - Grands Crus
  • 2012 - Dynaste
  • 2013 - Annacotty