Kauto Star rolled back the years to produce a stunning display on Saturday to win the Betfair Chase to raise hopes of another crack at the Gold Cup. There had many calls for the legendary chaser to be retired after a couple of poor runs last season but he was as good as ever at Haydock as he lowered the colours of current Gold Cup hero, Long Run. Kauto jumped brilliantly the whole way round under a typically masterful ride from Ruby Walsh to defeat his younger rivals with something in hand. Trainer Paul Nicholls called the run a 'career best' and it is hard to argue with that assessment with the horse about to turn 12 years old. It now looks like we will see Kauto head to Kempton for an attempt to win a fifth King George Chase alongside stable mate Master Minded who also runs under the colours of owner Clive Smith.
Long Run was expected to be too good for Kauto Star but he made several jumping errors along the way and never looked like getting on terms with a horse who is five years his senior. Nicky Henderson has indicated he will come on for the run and he still remains the horse to beat in the King George and the Gold Cup itself later in the season.The resurgence of Kauto Star does however put another angle on the Gold Cup this season and punters will be desperate to see the great chaser head back to the Cheltenham Festival for one more tilt at the big race. There were jubilant scenes on course at Haydock after Kauto Star's win at Haydock and his performance will live long in the memory as the National Hunt season really came alive as we head towards Cheltenham.