Nicholls: Kauto has conditions to suit

Paul Nicholls believes the track will suit Kauto Star down to the ground when he tackles the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup on the final day of the Festival tomorrow.

Paul Nicholls believes the track will suit Kauto Star down to the ground when he tackles the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup on the final day of the Festival tomorrow.

The seven-year-old is within touching distance of a £1m (€1.5m) bonus, having already won both the Betfair Chase and King George VI Chase.

Unbeaten in five starts this season, he remains a strong market leader at 6-4 with the sponsors.

“Kauto Star has won five races on the bounce and has done the talking himself,” said champion trainer Nicholls.

“I think this track will bring the best out of him and he’s in really good form. At Newbury on his latest start it was good to see him put his head down and go and win his race.”

Nicholls also has My Will and Neptune Collonges among a field of 19 declared for the blue-riband event.

“My Gold Cup horses are in good order and I’m delighted the ground is drying out,” Nicholls continued.

“The last thing I wanted to see was Kauto Star running in a bog and I’m sure Neptune Collonges will be better for running on a decent surface.

“My Will wouldn’t want it fast, but he’s fine on half-decent ground.”

Exotic Dancer, runner-up in the King George on St Stephen's Day, renews rivalry on a course where he has already won three prestigious prizes this season.

“His preparation has gone extremely well and ground conditions won’t make any difference,” said Barry Simpson, racing manager to owner Sir Robert Ogden, whose colours were carried to victory by Voy Por Ustedes in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

“The Gold Cup only became a possibility when he won the Letheby & Christopher Chase. That convinced us. Up until then we had never thought of him as a Gold Cup horse.”

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