Kauto takes step in the right direction

Paul Nicholls issued an upbeat report following the first piece of work done by his chasing legend Kauto Star since a nasty fall sustained by the five time King George VI Chase winner placed his participation in the forthcoming Cheltenham Gold Cup in jeopardy, but still warns punters to be wary and that things will be taken day by day, writes Elliot Slater.

The beloved 12-year-old had been rated just 50-50 for the Gold Cup prior to working on Saturday morning having suddenly appeared to be progressing and showing a lot of his old sparkle, and after going 10 furlongs upsides fellow Cheltenham contender What A Friend, his regular work rider reported that the old horse is beginning to feel as though he is coming right and getting over what was reportedly a very unpleasant fall at the final fence of a schooling session last week under Ruby Walsh. Those following the best online 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup odds will hope he is back to his best soon.

The markets reacted quickly to the initial news about Kauto Star’s fall and reported bruising, pushing him out to 9/2 from 7/2 to regain the title he won in both 2007 and 2009, but have readjusted their books after the positive bulletin about his latest piece of home work, trimming the French bred gelding to a top price of 4/1 whilst holding reigning champion Long Run firm at 6/4 favourite to retain his crown.

Kauto Star’s return to the very top table this season has been nothing short of sensational having ended last season looking a sorry sight when pulled up at Punchestown in May. Despite the call from many to pension off the great horse, Nicholls maintained his belief in owner Clive Smith’s pride and joy and has been rewarded by Grade 1 victories in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November followed by the unforgettable length victory over Long Run in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day which triggered scenes in the winners enclosure at the Sunbury track not witnessed since the heyday of the mighty Desert Orchid.

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