Taaffe delighted with King progress

Kicking King is recuperating well from the tendon injury which saw his season curtailed after his success in the Stan James King George VI Chase at Sandown on Boxing Day.

The totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup hero will not be at next month’s Festival to defend his crown, but things are going to plan on the road to recovery.

“He was scanned last week and it is going great,” Taaffe told At The Races. “He is doing a lot of walking and it is that good you could probably bring him back if you wanted for the start of next season.

“I’m not interested in doing that – I am going to give him all the time in the world. January 2007 is time enough and his main target is obviously the Gold Cup that year.”

With Kicking King absent, Taaffe nominated Beef Or Salmon as the horse to beat in the blue riband on March 17.

“If Beef Or Salmon is able to put in the performances he put in at Leopardstown on Lexus day and Hennessy day, there is nothing to beat him in the Gold Cup,” he said.

“There is a hoodoo hanging over him at Cheltenham, but if he can overcome that, and hopefully he will for Michael (Hourigan), they are all going to have to beat him.

“If Monkerhostin gets the trip, he’ll be a tough horse to beat and I think he could get the trip.

“They are the obvious two, but it will be great to see Beef Or Salmon win and I think he deserves it. If he can get everything right on the day I think it will happen.”

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