Stone keeps the name alive
Kauto Stone ensured the most famous name in National Hunt racing lived on when the half-brother of Kauto Star won the JNwine.com Champion Chase last Saturday.
The six-year-old followed in the footsteps of his half-brother in winning Northern Ireland's premier chase for trainer Paul Nicholls after jumping and travelling well throughout.
The 4/1 chance, ridden by Daryl Jacob, went to the front between the final two fences before charging to the finish line a length ahead of First Lieutenant.
"He did it nicely. He travelled well and we got a lovely lead through the race. I think he will improve from that," Jacob told At the Races.
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"They went a nice, even gallop all the way. He travelled well in the Tingle Creek Chase (last year), so he was always going to travel well today.
"Paul is a master at keeping horses fresh and well and I'm sure he will have a nice target in mind for him at home."
Last year's winner, Quito De La Roque, finished third, while Sizing Europe was a notable non-runner.
The result capped the beginning of a new era for Nicholls' Ditcheat yard on a super Saturday for the champion trainer.
Silviniaco Conti and Cristal Bonus were also winners in their comeback races as they suggested they could challenge for major honours this season, while Tidal Bay also triumphed.
Particularly impressive was Silviniaco Conti during victory in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.
The six-year-old was an 11/10 favourite following a promising novice campaign and took on established stayers Time For Rupert, Midnight Chase at Planet Of Sound.
Ruby Walsh settled him in arrears for much of the journey but he cruised to the front in the home straight and raced away for an 11-length triumph.
Walsh only had two rides at Wetherby and left with a double as Tidal Bay landed the John Smith's Hurdle.
His understudy, Jacob, led Cristal Bonus to victory in the Ladbrokes Chase at Down Royal.