Rainbow may reach for stars with gold (and Kauto) at end

 

With 64 days to go, the countdown to the Gold Cup can officially start. The entries were made yesterday, 34 of them, and all the names that should be there are there, with no ghastly errors of omission. Kauto Star, already the first horse to regain the Cheltenham crown, can go for a unique three in five years; his great rival Long Run can try to redeem his reputation as the future of this particular branch of the sport.

And away from the pair who top the market – last year's winner Long Run is 11-4 with race sponsors Betfred, Kauto Star 4-1 – are developing several other vignettes. Fans of the novice Grands Crus, who won the Feltham Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day in a faster time than did Kauto Star the King George VI Chase over the same three miles, can rest easy that he is in the field, and even easier to know that they could get their ante-post money back if he does not run. Should the David Pipe-trained grey stick to the company of his peers in the RSA Chase, the Betfred operation, which make him 8-1 third favourite, will refund Gold Cup bets.

As back-up to Kauto Star, Paul Nicholls' bench comprises a cluster of outsiders in Poquelin, The Minack, Tidal Bay and last year's fourth, What A Friend. Nicky Henderson, trainer of Long Run, has two in reserve in Burton Port and yesterday's one rather surprising nomination, Finian's Rainbow. Though the nine-year-old was in command when falling at the last in a three-mile point-to-point earlier in his career, all his eight victories have come at around two miles and, indeed, he is third favourite for the Champion Chase.

The Irish, who have not had a horse placed in a Gold Cup since War Of Attrition won it six years ago, have eight possibilities to end the drought. One of the most intriguing is Quel Esprit, always highly regarded by Willie Mullins but who failed to complete any of his three top-level runs last term. The nine-year-old, who has had two successful confidence-builders this season, can be backed at 40-1. An even longer shot, China Rock at 100-1, is set to run at Punchestown on Saturday, his first start since stem-cell treatment for a leg injury sustained when going well for War Of Attrition's trainer, Mouse Morris, in last year's Cheltenham showpiece.

Those whom top-class chasers leave cold at any time, let alone during a chilly January, can bask this afternoon in Flat warmth at Meydan, as only the most parochial will ignore the Dubai international carnival that culminates in the planet's richest race, the Dubai World Cup, at the end of March.

One of today's contests, the UAE Guineas Trial, features a few names on the fringe of elite class, colts whose performances last year can be linked to the very best. Kinglet, for instance, one of 300 horses under the care this year of Godolphin's No 1 trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni, beat the subsequent close Dewhurst Stakes third Most Improved on his debut and holds a Derby entry.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Dashing Eddie (2.25 Southwell) After an unlucky run on his debut at today's track last month, made no mistake last week and still looks ahead of his mark.

Next best

Star In Flight (1.45 Catterick) Off the mark very easily over course and distance two weeks ago, jumping fluently in front, and should be able to continue his progress.

One to watch

Barenger (Nicky Henderson), a beaten warm favourite at Doncaster yesterday, is surely better. The hurdling debutant lost ground as he ballooned several obstacles and a slicker technique will show him in a better light.

Where the money's going

Zarkandar has been made favourite, at 8-1, for his seasonal comeback in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury next month.

News
news

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity

News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
News
The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
people

Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
News
people
Life and Style
tech Manband spurn Spotify to stream album exclusively with Google
News
Irradiated turkey and freeze dried mash potato will be on the menu this thanksgiving
video
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
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

Recruitment Genius: Finance and Office Administrator

£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An award winning field marketing agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Part Time Telesales / Appointment Maker

£10000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A professional telesales/appoin...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Execution Trader

£30000 - £250000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global Rolling Spot FX, Comm...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?