Kempton pays Kauto tribute with race title
Kempton's feature novice chase on St Stephen's Day is to be permanently run as the Kauto Star Novices' Chase.
Formerly the Feltham Novices' Chase, the three-mile contest was staged for the first time with its new title last year in honour of the now-retired Kauto Star, which won the track's King George VI Chase an unprecedented five times.
The news was released by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) in conjunction with details of the review of the novice chase programme in Britain initiated last year, with further revisions announced following consultation with trainers.
The trial ran from October 1, 2012 until the conclusion of the 2012-13 season, with the objective of addressing the trend of declining field sizes in novice chases.
The BHA said the trial achieved this objective as novice chases produced an average field size of 6.8, compared to 5.6 for the same period the preceding year. In addition, races attracting fewer than six runners were down from 62pc to 43pc.
Ruth Quinn, director of racing for the BHA, said: "Overall we were pleased with the results generated by the trial in terms of field sizes and the competitiveness of races in this category."
Throughout the trial the BHA were in communication with representatives of the National Trainers Federation to discuss concerns raised by trainers.
As a result, recommendations for more adjustments to the trial were approved, with the main proposal an amendment to the rule that requires a horse to have one run over fences in a weight-for-age chase before running in handicaps.
Under the revised rule a horse will now be required to have its first start over fences in a weight-for-age chase or a novice chase of any description, including handicaps.