Kauto Stone upheld the family name as he emulated his great half-brother Kauto Star by winning the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal yesterday.
Kauto Star, which retired earlier this week, won this race in 2008 and 2010 and his younger sibling added his name to the roll of honour with a first success over three miles.
Trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Daryl Jacob, the six-year-old had been successful on the same card last term, but was sent off a 4/1 chance in the Grade One contest.
The Gigginstown House Stud-owned pair of First Lieutenant and last year's winner Quito De La Roque set the early gallop. The latter was sent off the 2/1 favourite after his 2011 success and he was part of a four-horse group that began to assert. But the early effort began to tell on Quito De La Roque and First Lieutenant while Realt Dubh was primed to challenge on the inside, with Kauto Stone sitting on the outside.
However, Realt Dubh clattered the second-last fence and Kauto Stone assumed the lead before the last and held off First Lieutenant by a length.
The winner landed the Ladbrokes Chase on the Down Royal card last year and Cristal Bonus repeated the trick for Nicholls and owner Robin Geffen in the Grade Two event.
Nicholls secured his fifth consecutive winner of the race as Jacob steered the 2/1 shot to an effortless nine-length victory over Jacksonslady.
At Wetherby, Silviniaco Conti graduated to full company in style in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase. A Grade Two novice winner at Aintree last term, the Nicholls runner was sent off the 11/10 favourite against five more experienced rivals and Ruby Walsh's mount came home 11 lengths clear of Wayward Prince.
The King George VI Chase is likely to be next on his agenda and Paddy Power make him a 5/1 chance from 8s. "He jumped well and travelled well, he felt a bit stronger than last year," said Walsh. "We've always liked him but he kept surprising us last year."
Sunday Indo Sport