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Kauto Star makes horse racing history

Just champion. Trainer Paul Nicholls (left), Ruby Walsh and owner Clive Smith in the winning enclosure with Kauto Star.
Just champion. Trainer Paul Nicholls (left), Ruby Walsh and owner Clive Smith in the winning enclosure with Kauto Star.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Kauto Star wins King George VI chase for the fourth successive year
  • Nine-year-old gelding gives jockey Ruby Walsh a superb ride at Kempton Park
  • Kauto Star installed as favorite to win Cheltenham Gold Cup for third time next March

(CNN) -- Kauto Star underlined his status as the leading steepechaser of his generation by claiming a record fourth straight King George VI Chase at Kempton Park in London on Boxing Day.

The nine-year-old gelding took up the running going into the home straight and cantered to victory over the three mile (4.8 kilometer) course.

It was a dream ride for jockey Ruby Walsh, as his mount equaled the legendary gray Desert Orchid with a fourth win.

But Kauto Star has claimed his in successive years, edging "Dessie", who won three in a row, in the record books.

"For any horse to come back for the same race four years on the trot is some ask, but to win it is incredible and it is an absolute privilege to ride him," Walsh told gathered reporters after his romp.

For any horse to come back for the same race four years on the trot is some ask, but to win it is incredible and it is an absolute privilege to ride him
--Ruby Walsh

"He's an amazing horse."

Madison du Berlais, a 10-1 chance, edged out Barbers Shop for a distant second place.

Bookmakers now make Kauto Star is now a 5-4 favorite to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March for a third time in four years.

He regained his crown earlier this year after missing out in 2008 to stablemate Denman.

Trainer Paul Nicholls paid tribute to his horse and rider after a victory which avoided the occasional final fence lapse which have characterized previous wins.

"He is great for racing and the crowd here today have been fantastic," said the champion trainer.

Such is his dominance at the traditional festive season showpiece that he is being offered at just 5-4 to win for a fifth time next year.

Imperial Commander, one of the few in the field expected to have any chance of challenging the favorite, made an error at the second fence and was never in contention.