Owner Clive Smith firmly believes that Kauto Star can gain compensation over stablemate Denman in this years totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday, March 13. The Paul Nicholls-trained pair are among 38 horses who have been entered for the 475,000 highlight of the four-day Festival at Cheltenham (Tuesday, March 10 - Friday, March 13).
After his seven-length defeat to Denman in last years race, Kauto Star will be bidding to become the first horse to win non-consecutive renewals of the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup, following his two and a half length success over Exotic Dancer in 2007. The 10-time Grade One winner will be going to Cheltenham on the back of a superb third success in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.
Smith commented: I was ecstatic about his victory at Kempton and it was a brilliant performance. Paul has said that Kauto Star wasnt quite right in the Betfair Chase and that he probably just had an off day there. That race might have come a bit soon after Down Royal and he might not have enjoyed the dead ground, but he certainly came back to form on his latest start.
Paul and I decided that he will now go straight to The Festival. He rattled up six victories when he took the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup 2007 but hes got a few more miles on the clock now and he possibly likes to put in a performance a bit less frequently these days.
We have to make sure that he is spot on for Cheltenham and keeping him fresh for March seems the best way forward. We could have run him in the Grade One Chase at Ascot in mid-February like last year, but that would only leave a four-week gap.
He also had a foot problem between Ascot and Cheltenham last season and we just want to make sure that if there are any problems between now and The Festival that we give him every chance of lining up in the totesport Gold Cup.
If we get the right going, then I think we have every chance of beating Denman. I like to think of it as home and away it was like a home fixture for Denman last season because he got his favoured ground while Kauto Star couldnt get going in it. Thats not to take anything from Denman because I thought he was superb.