Horse racing: Kauto Star forced to wait on King George bid

Kauto Star's bid to land a record fifth successive William Hill King George VI Chase has been put on ice.

Paul Nicholls' brilliant chaser will have to wait until Kempton's next jumps meeting on Saturday, January 15 to go one better than Desert Orchid, who won the Boxing Day feature four times (1986, 1988-90).

The relevant parties acted to quickly to save the King George and the Christmas Hurdle after both days of the festive fixture fell foul of the big freeze.

The Sunbury track, with the help of the British Horseracing Authority, sponsors William Hill and the Levy Board, managed to re-schedule the two contests.

Kempton's managing director Amy Starkey said: "We are naturally

bitterly disappointed to have lost the William Hill Winter Festival to the severe winter weather.

"Everyone at the racecourse did all that they could to get racing on, but the elements defeated us.

"However, we - and all of our partners within racing - are delighted that the two major races will be held on William Hill Lanzarote Hurdle day.

"Though it has not taken place at Christmas as we expected, the whole of racing can now start looking forward once again to Kauto Star's bid to win a record-breaking fifth William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton Park.

"We will be making all the necessary arrangements for Saturday, January 15 and will make announcements about race times and admission prices this week."

The BHA will confirm the finalised details for both races in the next few days.

Kempton had done their best to stage Monday's card but like the Boxing Day programme, had to admit defeat to the weather.

Clerk of the course Barney Clifford said: "The temperature got down to minus 7C overnight, a degree worse than we had been forecast.

"However, whereas we were forecast 1C and 2C during Sunday, it hasn't

got above minus 2C and was still minus 5C in the middle of the morning.

"Not only are the protective covers still frozen to the grass, there is now frost in the ground because of the longevity of these frosts.

"We would need daytime temperatures tomorrow to be above zero quite early in order for the covers to be removed in time for the 11.50am start, but that just isn't going to happen.

"There is no chance of the frost coming out of the ground tomorrow. Milder temperatures are not arriving in time, so even a contingency of considering racing on Tuesday isn't possible."

Workforce could start his 2011 campaign in the Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom in June.

The hero of this year's Derby and Arc will be aimed at the top middle-distance races, but connections have not ruled out dropping him back to a mile and a quarter should the right opportunity present itself.

"They went a tremendous pace in the Derby and he settled really well," said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah.

"The good thing is he handled the track very well and came down the

hill on the bridle.

"His pedigree says he can improve as a four-year and his trainer is more than adept in bringing horses on.

"We will see how he winters and see how he goes, but the Coronation Cup would be a fairly obvious starting point.

"We want to try and make him what we believe him to be - a very high-class horse.

"We want him to do that in a range of top-class races.

"If the right race over a mile and a quarter came up, it (mile and a quarter) certainly wouldn't be discounted."

Frankel could make his seasonal debut in a Classic trial before going for glory in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May.

Connections of the unbeaten champion two-year-old, trained by Henry Cecil, may consider the Greenham Stakes at Newbury in April ahead of

his date with destiny at Headquarters.

"Frankel's great and is relaxed and in his winter quarters at Warren Place," said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah.

"He'll be trotting every day, but he won't be doing very much.

"With these horses you have to see how they winter and progress throughout the spring before outlining a definite campaign.

"His initial target will be in the 2000 Guineas, but whether he has a race beforehand I don't know, but the Greenham would be a possible target.

"Whether he stays a mile and a half or not, not necessarily - it's open to conjecture.

"He's the champion two-year-old, what he becomes thereafter is going to

be a bonus."