High-speed canter for Kauto

Kauto Star continues to make strides in his race to be primed for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday week.

Kauto Star continues to make strides in his race to be primed for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday week.

It is nearly a week since news emerged the star 12-year-old had taken a schooling fall at home.

Trainer Paul Nicholls has since issued regular updates on his progress at the Ditcheat yard and after stating last week the horse was only 50-50 to line up at the Festival, the vibes have been much more positive in recent days.

Nicholls is planning a racecourse gallop for the dual Gold Cup victor at Wincanton on Friday and did his routine exercise without issue on Wednesday.

"Nothing major to report today but we are, thankfully, still heading in the right direction," he told his Betfair column.

"He once again had his physio and his hour on the walker.

"And then he had a half-speed 10-furlong canter with Big Buck's and then a canter up the hill with him, too.

"In fact, all my Cheltenham horses did the same routine - so Kauto did everything the other Festival horses did today.

"Clifford (Baker, head lad) is still smiling and at one point I thought he was going to do Kauto's box roll for him!"

Kauto Star is a 4-1 chance with the sponsors for Festival glory, with last year's victor Long Run Betfred's 13-8 favourite.

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