Kauto ‘almost certain’ for Gold run
Kauto Star virtually confirmed himself a starter in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup after delighting connections in a gallop after racing at Wincanton.
The 12-year-old was described as “50-50″ for the Festival showpiece last week after it emerged he had suffered a schooling fall at Paul Nicholls’ Ditcheat yard, and the trainer was keen to see how he fared in a racecourse spin with stablemate Mon Parrain.
Regular rider Ruby Walsh was on hand to put him through his paces over two miles, while Daryl Jacob teamed up with Mon Parrain, and the pair were never asked a serious question as they enjoyed the workout, quickening the pace slightly in the straight as Kauto Star finished around a head in front.
Nicholls said: “I’m very, very pleased and Ruby said he could hardly hold him. I didn’t want him to do too much but they quickened up a bit. If he’s all right tomorrow and schools on Monday, then I’d say we’re in business.
“I can’t tell you the difference between looking at him now and last Friday. It’s a phenomenal difference and it’s a huge relief because everyone can see if he’s in good or bad shape and he looked in really good order.
“He looks like he did before Haydock (Betfair Chase win) and the King George and he’s full of enthusiasm. We’ve still got another week now. I would say we are almost certain to be there.
“Last weekend we were very touch and go. Sunday I was thinking we were in trouble and thought the easiest thing would be not to run him, but the improvement has been unbelievable.
“It shows that it was a little knock and a bit of bruising. Everybody’s worked really hard. He’s responded to treatment, he’s come right and he’s got a lot of enthusiasm, which helps you.
“That was a big test for him today and I’m absolutely thrilled with the way he went. I don’t think anybody could have a negative about that. He will jump two brush hurdles and a couple of brush fences on Monday morning and Ruby will come over to do it.”
Walsh added: “He’s moving well and he was in good spirits. The Gold Cup‘s next Friday so you can’t do a whole pile, but he seems in good health. He did enough, he didn’t do too much. He’s in good form, but whether he will win or not, I don’t know. He’s ready for it. He’s in good heart at the minute and seems sharp.”
Written by Mar 10th, 2012.on