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King George on Kauto's radar

KAUTO Star could have another run in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on St Stephen's Day, should the superstar gelding stay in training.

THE 12-year-old was last seen being pulled up in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham in March, having suffered a fall in training in the lead-up to the blue riband.

Trainer Paul Nicholls and owner Clive Smith have been keen to defer any decision about retirement until after the summer, and that remains the case after the five-times King George and dual Gold Cup winner paraded at the annual owners' day at his Ditcheat base.

"The idea is to see where we are in a month to six weeks," said Smith. "Clifford Baker (Nicholls' head lad) rides him every day - if anybody is going to know it is him."

Nicholls said: "We will give him a month's work and then Clive and I will have a chat. There is only one possible race he can run in and that is the King George. He would not be ready for the Betfair Chase (at Haydock on November 24)."

Aidan O'Brien unleashed another promising juvenile at Dundalk in the shape of Sir Walter Scott in the www.sesif.org race.

A three-parts brother to the top-class Frozen Fire, he was surprisingly friendless in the market given he holds engagements in the likes of the Vincent O'Brien National Stakes and the Beresford Stakes.

Sent off at 9/2 he looked like finishing third as the Ger Lyons-trained pair of Washboard Sam and Seeking Luck, both previous winners, appeared to be going better either side of him.

But without Colm O'Donoghue having to get too serious, the Galileo colt hit top gear inside the final 100 yards beating Seeking Luck by a neck.

"He did it well but he was a bit green early on," said O'Donoghue. "I was sitting in second on him and he wasn't really learning much. He finished it off well and he'll keep improving."

Leopardstown's Racing and Operations manager Nessa Joyce is expecting the weekend's Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes to be run on a sound surface.

Although the Dublin venue has been hit by significant rainfall over the past week, the forecast is brighter for the coming days and Joyce is expecting the ground to dry out and believes the going could be good come raceday.

"The forecast for the week is quite consistent, which is good, and we aren't forecast any major bands of rain," said Joyce.

"We had plenty of rain last week, but things are already drying out towards good to soft.

"There will be showers around this week, but at this stage we'd be quite hopeful we'd have the word good in the going description.

"If we don't get much rain at all, we're probably shaping up towards genuine good ground, but we'll just have to see."