The racing world has been waiting with bated breath all week as the daily updates have arrived from trainer Paul Nicholls regarding the legendary chaser’s progress following a schooling fall.
Noises emanating from Nicholls’ Ditcheat base have been far more positive inside the last 48 hours and Smith believes the 12-year-old is “nearly there”.
The dual Gold Cup and five-time King George winner will gallop alongside stablemate Mon Parrain after racing at Wincanton today, when lucky racegoers will get the chance to see for themselves how he is progressing. “I’ll be going to Wincanton to see him,” said Smith.
“Paul has said he will school him on the grass gallops at home, as he has done every year before Cheltenham, and after he’s done that the decision will be announced.”
Nicholls later reported that Kauto Star once again came through his daily exercise unscathed. “Kauto Star enjoyed his usual morning preparation before having two canters up the hill with Big Buck’s and he continues to please us and head in the right direction,” said Nicholls.
“So we look forward to his racecourse gallop at Wincanton [today]. We have had a very busy morning here today, schooling on the grass. Zarkandar went with Pearl Swan, and both looked particularly sharp. Brampour schooled with Prospect Wells, and Ulck Du Lin worked with Sonofvic.”