Horse racing: Kauto Star’s fitness to go public

RACEGOERS at Wincanton on Friday will get the chance to judge for themselves how well Kauto Star is recuperating from his schooling fall.

Trainer Paul Nicholls has decided to give the great chaser a gallop after racing at his local track, rather than carry out a piece of work at home on Saturday morning.

The Ditcheat handler stepped up the 12-year-old’s exercise again yesterday and hopes that Clive Smith’s pride and joy will get the chance to run in his sixth Betfred Gold Cup appear to be rising.

Kauto Star will work with Mon Parrain after racing and Nicholls, writing on his Betfair blog, is pleased with how he is progressing.

“We upped Kauto Star’s work again today,” said Nicholls. “He had his now regular morning physio and an hour on the walker – we should bring out an exercise video, as that routine is getting so much publicity – and then we gave him his most testing workout since his schooling fall. We gave him two strong canters up the hill alongside my Fred Winter hopeful Ulck Du Lin. And again I have to report that he came through it fine and I’m happy with him at the moment.

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“What particularly pleased me was that, aside from looking great, he came back from the work and had a good roll in his box, always a good sign with him. He looks happy in himself and Clifford (Baker, head lad) is smiling. But I can reveal that we have had a change of plan over the so-called ‘D Day’ home gallop on Saturday. He will now gallop after racing at Wincanton on Friday instead.

“Why the change of plan? Well, he had a racecourse gallop before he won the Betfair Chase and I thought it a better idea to give him a spin, and a good workout, on the grass away from home. Ruby (Walsh) will ride and he will work with Mon Parrain. Everyone can make their own minds up as to how he looks and works.

“But I must stress that it is one step at a time and it is important that people don’t get carried away.”

The day began with negative vibes about Gold Cup favourite Long Run. The defending champion drifted on the betting exchanges forcing Ladbrokes to suspend betting overnight, only for them to reopen their market with Long Run a 6-4 chance from even money. However, owner Robert Waley-Cohen wrote on his twitter account that he was baffled by the rumours. “Mystified by Long Run poorly rumours. Worked as normal today. All systems go,” he said.

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Meanwhile, JCB Triumph Hurdle favourite Grumeti has suffered a minor setback, but connections fully expect him to make the line-up next week.

The Alan King-trained juvenile has won three of his four outings, but the former Michael Bell inmate was lame on Tuesday morning. “He’s lame today but Alan fully expects it clear up with the next two days,” said Iain Turner, racing manager to owner Max McNeil. “It’s something very minor. If it had happened next Tuesday we’d be worried, but we expect him to be back working by the end of the week.”