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Henderson Plays Down Kauto Star Gold Cup Chances


Conditioner Nicky Henderson spoke to the media on Tuesday and piled the pressure on Ruby Walsh and Kauto Star ahead of this year's Cheltenham Gold Cup. Henderson was firm in his belief that if they deploy the same tactics that were used to defeat Long Run in their two engagements this season, they will come up short due to Long Run's fitness and ability to navigate the hill on the run-in at Cheltenham.


Speaking to the Racing Post, Henderson stated “they started the year at Haydock, which is a very fast track, and Ruby surprised everyone by hitting the turbo down the back. Then he did the same at Kempton. If they go for it a long way out at Cheltenham they have another two and a half furlongsup the hill and it might be a bit harder for them.”

Long Run got the better of Kauto Star and Denman last year in the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup to rocket himself to the top of the chasing division. Denman was subsequently retired and Kauto Star could only manage a tame third. He was then pulled up at Punchestown a month later when sent off as the 10/11 betting choice.

All was not lost, however, as King Kauto rolled back the years to dispose of Long Run by nearly ten lengths over his past two outings this year. Ruby was able to deploy a textbook ride at Kempton and Henderson's comments will definitely make it interesting.

Long Run is a general 9/4 with most major bookmakers while Kauto Star is floating anywhere from 5/2 to 7/2 while Long Run's stablemate Burton Port competes with Grands Crus for the third favourites position. Both can be had anywhere from 7/1 to 10/1.

Quel Esprit and The Midnight Chase are both emerging as the outside contenders as the field continues to narrow. As a large number of the 25/1 to 33/1 contenders will likely be moving towards other races.
Captain Chris trades anywhere from 20/1 to 33/1.  

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