Paul Nicholls is preparing for “the biggest decision I’ve ever had to make” regarding whether to let Kauto Star take his chance in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The legendary steeplechaser fell when schooling at the champion trainer’s Ditcheat base last week and while no serious injury was suffered, connections revealed he is only 50-50 to bid for a third Gold Cup.
There were positive signs after the 12-year-old enjoyed a roll in his box after working on Friday, but no final decision will be made on his Prestbury Park participation until next weekend.
“It’s getting better and better every day,” Nicholls told Channel 4 Racing’s The Morning Line.
“He’s never taken a lame step, he’s never been off his grub, he looks great and he’s cantered every day since it happened.
“He can’t talk to you and tell you exactly where it (pain) is, it’s impossible to tell. Clifford (Baker, head lad) can just tell by riding him.
“Every day he comes back from work, he always has a roll. He hadn’t done that until yesterday morning, so that’s a good sign. We’re moving forward.
“The idea is to work him hard as normal next week and next Saturday he is due to do a strong piece of work, his last serious gallop, with Big Buck’s.
“There are no fitness issues here, we haven’t missed any work and he was fit and well.
“Next Saturday will tell us, then I’ll have a discussion with Clive (Smith, owner) and Clifford. We’ll all have a little input and see if we can come up with the right decision.
“It’s a difficult decision, probably the biggest decision I’ve ever had to make.
“We’ve got it right so far this season, we want to try and get it right again.”