Kauto Star Still Has A Long Run to the Gold Cup
January 3, 2012 Leave a comment
Only Silver Flame in 1951 and What A Myth in 1969 have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup as 12 year olds, but the outstanding Kauto Star looks well on course to join them in 2012. The Paul Nicholls trained two times Gold Cup winner put in an unforgettable run to land a record breaking fifth King George Vl Chase on Boxing Day and now heads to Cheltenham in March looking to sign off what will more than likely be his final run in style.
Kauto Star confirmed that his victory over reigning Gold Cup champion, Long Run in the Grade One Betfair Chase in November was not a one off as he beat him for a second time this season. It is true that this latest run was a lot closer and it could be argued that Long Run was getting to him on the run in but the manner in which Kauto Star won the race suggested very strongly that he was back to his most imperious form. He was also ridden superbly by Ruby Walsh who clearly gets a different tune out of him when compared to others who have been in his saddle.
The Bookmakers still have Long Run as the 5/2 favourite in the Gold Cup betting, with Kauto Star rated a general 4/1 chance with Boylesports a stand out 9/2. However, it has to be thought that such will be the popularity of Kauto Star come March 16th that he could well start favourite on the day.
With the great Denman now out of the picture, Long Run is now the nearest thing Kauto Star has to a rival and racing fans can expect a media frenzy as the ‘race of the champions’ draws near.
Kauto of course first won the ‘Gold Cup’ back in 2007 and became the first horse to regain the trophy when winning again two years later. He was second in the intervening year to stablemate, Denman, he fell after running badly in 2010 and could no better than third last season when Long Run became the first horse since Mill House in 1963 to win the race as a 6 year old.
The scene is set therefore to one of those races that have fans frothing at the mouth’s and quivering at the knees all knowing that racing a racing feat that could never be equalled, should ‘Kauto’ get home first and the much younger pretender put in his place.
They are clearly the two major protagonists, but others who have earned the right to be mentioned as potential dangers are newly crowned Lexus Chase champion, Synchronised and possibly the David Pipe potential superstar, Grands Crus, brilliant winner of the Grade 1 Feltham Novice Chase also at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Synchronised certainly confirmed himself as a Gold Cup prospect after justifying the connections decision to forego the opportunity to defend his Welsh National crown by going over to Ireland. His win against a number of the best Irish Gold Cup candidates was emphatic, defeating John Durkan winner, Rubi light and JN Wine Champion, Quito De La Roque by over 8 lengths in the 3 mile Lexus Chase on 28th December.
Grands Crus although still in his novice season, has now become a live ‘Gold Cup’ after his superb ‘Feltham’ victory, where he had the well backed, Silviniaco Conti comfortably held with the highly regarded Bobs Worth back in third. The win maintained Grands Crus unbeaten record over fences leaving trainer, David Pipe only to mull over whether or not he goes for the Gold Cup or the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.