Nicholls: 'Al has outstanding chance'
Paul Nicholls is still adapting to life after Kauto Star, who contributed five of the champion trainer's seven victories in the William Hill King George VI Chase, including last year.
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Now the great champion has been retired, with a dressage career in the offing, the two representatives from Ditcheat will be Paddy Power winner Al Ferof and Kauto Star's half-brother Kauto Stone, who impressed on his comeback at Down Royal.
Nicholls does have a slight headache over bookings as his second jockey Daryl Jacob is contesting a suspension which would rule him out of Kempton's big race.
"Ruby Walsh has ridden Al Ferof through his career and the plan was for him to ride, and Daryl won on Kauto Stone at Down Royal," he said.
"Daryl will ride if he can get off the suspension, but if he can't, then we'll find the best available.
"The two horses canter and school together and both need to be fresh.
"I think Al Ferof has an outstanding chance and while I think Kauto Stone is the one who has to improve the most, he has done well since having a breathing operation in the summer."