Gold Cup preview: Kauto can prove ascendant over fading rival star

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The Independent Online

The 82nd running of the week's centrepiece should provide an "I-was-there" moment. Kauto Star (3.20), going for his third Cheltenham Gold Cup, is poised to seal his greatness. The race has been hyped as the best-of-three decider between the defending champion and his Paul Nicholls-stablemate Denman, but that moment came and went last year and Denman has increasingly looked like a horse falling out of love with his job.

Nicholls provides two others in the 11-strong field, My Will and Tricky Trickster, who are taking the race back to its roots by using it as a Grand National prep.

Tricky Trickster is progressive but the main threat from one of the upwardly mobile younger division is likely to come from Cooldine, who produced his best performance since winning last year's RSA Chase at Leopardstown last month.

Last year's Albert Bartlett Hurdle winner, Weapon's Amnesty, took the RSA Chase two days ago. Another chaser in the making, Quel Esprit (2.40), can find compensation for a fall earlier in the week. The winner of the day's other Grade One contest may also merit attention; the last three have been Katchit, Celestial Halo and Zaynar, respectively first, second and third in subsequent Champion Hurdles. Today, Alaivan (1.30) can turn the tables on his Leopardstown conqueror Carlito Brigante.

Any Given Day (2.05) could go well at a price in the County Hurdle, as could Drybrook Bedouin (4.00) in the Foxhunter. In the closing handicaps C'est Ca (4.40) and Beggars Cap (5.15) are suggested.