McCoy to take Kauto Star reins from unlucky Fehily
tony McCoy confirmed yesterday that he would take the ride on Kauto Star in the King George VI Chase after Noel Fehily ruled himself out following a recurrence of his recent wrist injury.
With a first name like Noel, Fehily might have seemed destined to steer Kauto Star to a fifth King George triumph at Kempton on St Stephen's Day, but instead the jockey was last night contemplating an operation and up to six weeks on the sidelines.
A new jockey, even McCoy, at this late stage will be regarded as a disruption to the Clive Smith-owned gelding's preparation, which has otherwise been smooth.
Apart from the injured Ruby Walsh, who has ridden him to victory in all four of his King George triumphs, only the now-retired Mick Fitzgerald, and Sam Thomas have ridden him during 25 starts in Britain.
Fitzgerald won the 2005 Tingle Creek on him and, though Thomas won the 2007 Betfair Chase, he and Kauto Star parted company at the last in the 2008 renewal.
Fehily, who won the restaged Tingle Creek Chase on Master Minded at Cheltenham, had not ridden Kauto Star in public, but had extensively schooled the 10-year-old, which is 11/10 with sponsors William Hill for a five-timer.
He was considered the right man for the job by trainer Paul Nicholls because of his quiet style.
Last night McCoy, who had been due to ride Albertas Run -- a very heavy faller on his last outing -- confirmed he would ride Kauto Star after he cleared the switch with Albertas Run's owner, Trevor Hemmings.
McCoy, who has chased Kauto Star home a couple of times in the race, won his only King George on Best Mate in 2002.
Fehily dislocated his wrist at Newbury's Hennessy meeting, missing the high-profile ride on Big Buck's the following day, but recovered within a fortnight to take the ride on Master Minded.
However, he struggled with his wrist at Kempton's all-weather meeting on Tuesday and finally conceded defeat yesterday. (© Daily Telegraph, London)