ONE of the greatest steeplechasers to have graced Haydock Park will be immortalised in bronze on Saturday at the racecourse’s biggest meeting of the calendar.
A statue to the recently-retired Kauto Star will be unveiled ahead of the £200,000 Betfair Chase, a race the legendary horse won on four occasions.
Kauto will be present as his owner Clive Smith pulls back the curtain on the tribute on Saturday morning.
The 12-year-old will then parade before leading out runners ahead of the afternoon’s major race.
Few horses have won the affections of Haydock racegoers like Kauto, who produced a momentous performance to defeat Long Run in last year’s Betfair Chase to cement his place in the course’s history.
After being written off in some quarters as being well past his best, the sight of the 11-year-old charging down the home straight moved even the most hardened of spectators to tears.
The half-life size study of Kauto – who also won the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice and the King George VI Chase five times – was created by sculptor Will Newton, who is based in Somerset close to the yard of the horse’s trainer Paul Nicholls.
It will be unveiled live on Channel 4’s Morning Line between 8am and 9am.
John Baker, north west regional director of Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “The Betfair Chase Festival is the highlight of the jump racing season at Haydock Park.
“The meeting puts the racecourse in the national sporting spotlight, and always attracts a large and enthusiastic crowd.
“The success of the race is in no small part due to the fantastic performances over the years by Kauto Star.
“We are therefore delighted to honour the horse with his own statue, and we look forward to welcoming him back to the scene of his four Betfair Chase victories.”
Saturday is the climax of the two-day Betfair Chase Festival, which begins at the track on Friday.
Nine top steeplechasing horses are poised to take part in the 2012 renewal of the three-mile Betfair Chase at 3.05pm.
On Saturday a free shuttle bus service runs from Newton-le-Willows railway station to Haydock Park from two hours before the first race. Return buses run after racing.
More information about racing at Haydock Park can be found at haydock-park.co.uk, where tickets can be bought online.