Smith awaiting key Kauto workout

Kauto Star’s chances of competing in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup will hinge upon a “D-Day” workout on Saturday, owner Clive Smith said today.

Kauto Star’s chances of competing in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup will hinge upon a “D-Day” workout on Saturday, owner Clive Smith said today.

The magnificent 12-year-old chaser, twice a winner of the Cheltenham Festival centrepiece, was last Thursday reported as 50-50 about running on Friday week following a bad schooling fall at Paul Nicholls’ Ditcheat yard.

Recent vibes have, however, been far more ebullient as the build-up to the Gold Cup gathers pace.

But 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).

“He’s sore around his neck and along his right flank, but he’s responding well to treatment.

“It’s whether he can improve sufficiently before the race.”

When asked if his odds of running in the Gold Cup have shortened since the news was broken last week, Smith added: “Yes, I’d say they probably have.”

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