Kauto Stone is a surprise entry in Saturday’s Tingle Creek at Sandown on Saturday as trainer Paul Nicholls seeks to continue his domination of the two-mile (3200m) feature.
The trainer has won the past six renewals of the Esher showpiece, and eight times in all.
Two of those wins were achieved by the great Kauto Star, the elder half brother of emerging star Kauto Stone.
Formerly trained in France, Kauto Stone made an impressive debut for the Nicholls team when he won the a steeplechase at Down Royal earlier this month giving the trainer his 2000th career success.
However, Kauto Stone’s entry in the Tingle is precautionary should predicted rain put stablemate Tataniano’s participation in question.
“The entry is purely precautionary in case the rain that’s forecast doesn’t materialise,” said Charlie Liverton, racing manager to owner Robin Geffen.
“If it doesn’t, then we’ll be off to Huntingdon for the Peterborough or Ireland (for the John Durkan) as previously planned.
“If it rains we’ll have a look at the race. Paul (Nicholls) doesn’t want to run two horses in the race.
“If the rain wasn’t forecast we wouldn’t have put the entry in.”
The Tingle Creek has been the plan for Tataniano after a successful reappearance at Chepstow in October.
The race has attracted one Irish-trained entry, Sizing Europe, the reigning Queen Mother Champion Chase hero.
Nicky Henderson has put in one of last season’s top novices, Finian’s Rainbow, while Wishfull Thinking is a possible from the Philip Hobbs stable.
David Pipe is double-handed with Dan Breen and I’msingingtheblues, while Nick Williams also has two entries in Cornas and Gauvain.
Gary Moore’s Fix The Rib and Kinkeel, trained by Tony Carroll, complete the list.
PA AAP TURF