It was announced on Thursday that Kauto Star had taken a fall on the gallops, and is currently only ‘50/50' to make the Gold Cup a week on Friday.
Amazingly, Paul Nicholls has received little bits of criticism (thankfully only little) over the last couple of days. If anything, he has become a victim of his own honesty. For years, he has kept everybody up to date with his horses when so many other trainers kept things secret. This latest news has been no exception, and everybody at Ditcheat should be congratulated for the work they do.
The shock over Kauto’s possible absence demonstrates the way in which Nicholls has transformed horse racing. A few years ago, if a main horse in the Gold Cup was injured, it would be simply one of those things. Now, it is different. The way in which trainers are now able to keep horses fit within and across seasons is nothing but astonishing. This will be Kauto’s seventh consecutive Cheltenham Festival appearance should he line up, and follows on from Denman making five appearances at various Festival races.
Fingers crossed Kauto can make it a week on Friday, but at least we can be safe in the knowledge that Paul and the team will only run him if he’s fully fit and able to take part. Long may his honesty continue.
In the meantime, here’s an old video from 2006, when he won the Betfair Chase in scintillating fashion at Haydock.