Kauto back on course

Trainer Paul Nicholls reported Kauto Star to have come safely through an increased workload yesterday.

The 12-year-old cantered twice in the morning and Nicholls, writing on his Betfair column, said: “He had his physio and an hour on the walker as per usual. And then he had a 1m 2f canter with Five Dream.

“But, in addition to that, he had a canter up the hill with the same horse. We will keep adding to this workload and tomorrow [Tuesday] he will do the same, but have two canters up the hill instead of one.

“Again, he is fine and we are heading in the right direction at the moment.”

Owner Clive Smith accepts any setbacks, no matter how minor, could still see Nicholls forced to take him out of the reckoning.

He said: “I spent an hour with Kauto on Saturday and the physio seemed very pleased with him.

“But then I spoke to Clifford (Baker, Nicholls’ head-lad) and he said it very much depended on his work this week – if he has a setback any day it would not be good.

“Saturday is going to be D-Day, but I’m quite hopeful, having talked to various people about it, that he’ll make it (to Cheltenham).

* One-time Arkle Trophy favourite Peddlers Cross will contest the Jewson Novices‘ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival next week.

Runner-up to Hurricane Fly in last year’s Champion Hurdle, the Tim Leslie-owned seven-year-old made the perfect transition to fences with two impressive successes at Bangor in November.

However, he suffered a heavy reverse at the hands of Sprinter Sacre at Kempton over Christmas, after which he was found to have suffered a setback.

Connections have now opted to tackle the Jewson over a longer trip rather than the two-mile Arkle.

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