Kauto Star may go for three more Gold runs

Nicholls outlines sparing but ambitious campaign plans as his ace leads a parade of the stable's Cheltenham heroes

The next date to ring in fluor-escent red in your diary is Saturday 7 November. That will be the next scheduled public sighting of Kauto Star, the horse who leapt the fence that divides the insular family of racing from the wider world with his record-breaking Cheltenham Gold Cup victory on Friday. The gelding, whose white-blazed face adorned the front pages of most newspapers yesterday, emerged from his stable in sparkling fettle in the morning, but he now will rest on his mighty laurels.

There had been talk of a trip to Punchestown next month but – after his Cheltenham defeat 12 months ago and another at Aintree – there will, with the nine-year-old's future career in mind, be no extra trip to the well this time round.

"We'll finish the season on a good note," said his trainer, Paul Nicholls, "and after all, if you win a Gold Cup, anything else is an anticlimax."

Kauto Star ran only four times this season and next term may be even more sparing. Once again Northern Irish racing fans will be the ones to get the first glimpse, in the JNwines.com Chase at Down Royal, near Belfast. After that it may be a tilt at a fourth King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, and a third Gold Cup.

"If we look after him," added Nicholls, "and keep him right, and he stays injury-free, he could run in the next three Gold Cups. He could go on until he is 12. He's such a professional in his attitude. He came home last night perfectly relaxed and ate up as if he'd just done a routine day's work at home."

At Cheltenham, Kauto Star went where no horse has gone before, the 21st Gold Cup winner to try to regain, as opposed to retain, a Gold Cup crown, and the first to succeed. His success was the culmination of an unprecedented week, too, for both Nicholls and jockey Ruby Walsh who, with five and seven victories respectively, obliterated the training and riding records at the most competitive of fixtures.

Kauto Star must now be measured among the genuine greats, upsides the most recent exceptional staying chaser, Desert Orchid. All the "Dessie" hoo-ha sometimes obscured the fact that the grey was a truly talented athlete, among the top half-dozen on the all-time jumping list. Like Kauto Star, Desert Orchid was that paragon, a three-mile chaser with two-mile speed. But Kauto Star has the extra dimension of being able to produce his best form over Cheltenham's undulating, demanding three-and-a-quarter miles.

More than 1,000 fans turned out yesterday to cheer Kauto Star and his owner, Clive Smith, at the now- traditional day-after victory parade through the Somerset village of Ditcheat. The dual Gold Cup winner led his stablemates Denman, who chased him home 13 lengths adrift on Friday, and the fourth-placed Neptune Collonges, followed by the Champion Chase hero Master Minded, the World Hurdle winner Big Buck's and the Champion Hurdle runner-up Celestial Halo.

"Kauto has been on the news pages of all the papers," said Nicholls, "which is so good for our sport. It's been great today meeting all sorts of people from all walks of life and listening to just how much he means to them."

The object of such adulation is 5-2 favourite for a third Gold Cup, ahead of the vanquished king Denman, whose recovery from physical problems, including a heart murmur, has been well-documented. "Though he was second," said Nicholls, "he was a winner, in that he not only came back safe, but came back where he did. He won't run again this season either, and if we get them both to Cheltenham next year fit and well, it will be some race."

The four-day Festival is not all about the Gold Cup; feats and fairytales emerged all along the line, at all levels. There was Tony McCoy getting the indolent Wichita Lineman home in front in the William Hill Trophy, not merely the ride of the meeting but arguably the season. There was injury-dogged Well Chief's second place in the Champion Chase after an absence of 698 days, a sensational individual training performance by David Pipe.

There was the dumbfounded delight of one-horse owner Isobel Coltman after victory in the Pertemps Final with Kayf Aramis, a horse she bred herself from a mare she bought for £1,000 from a small ad in a magazine; and the sterling effort of 49-year-old amateur Valerie Jackson, who finished fifth in the Foxhunter a quarter of a century after she rode in the Grand National.

But the week will be remembered for a one-horse show. Kauto Star's solo tour de force up the Cheltenham hill after a flawless round of jumping was mesmerising in its quality of drawing the eye against the tornado of approval erupting from the grandstands. It was the perfect eye of the storm.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee