Kauto Star Can Become the Greatest Chaser Ever

Should Kauto Star win the Cheltenham Gold Cup for a third time in March will he be regarded as the greatest steeplechaser of all time?

There are many of course who already subscribe to this opinion, particularly following his record breaking fifth win in the King George Vl Chase on Boxing Day. There are however others that will not agree no matter what happens at Cheltenham, they will remain loyal to the likes of Arkle, Desert Orchid and even before them, Golden Miller and more recently Best Mate.

However, the simple fact that the now 12 year old came back and won the King George on the very fast Kempton track, defeating his conqueror from last season’s race, Long Run in the process, speaks volumes for the belief of his connections. Trainer, Paul Nicholls, owner, Clive Smith and jockey, Ruby Walsh, never lost the faith they always had in him and between them, they know a thing or two about National Hunt racing!

Racing enthusiasts have little idea what happens to horses like Kauto Star at home but clearly Nicholls has done something to turn the fortunes of Kauto Star around since his fall in the Gold Cup in 2010 is nothing short of miraculous. Many thought that the long distinguished career of Kauto Star was at an end that day, particularly as the fall that ended his race was very close to a fall that could have ended his life.

Our negative minds were made of course when he was beaten into third place by Long Run in both the King George and the Gold Cup last season. Long Run it had appeared had usurped the crown and being just a six year old, was in a position to become the dominant horse in chasing for some years to come. Notwithstanding, Nicholls and his connections kept the faith in Kauto Star with Nicholls informing the media on more than one occasion that he was now back to his best at Ditcheat and his efforts last season should be ignored. How right the champion trainer has turned out to be!

Kauto Star has come out this season as a horse rejuvenated; he appears to have regained his confidence over the fences whilst looking supreme when at the gallop. In fact he has looked a couple of years younger at least which strongly suggests that he is now the horse to beat come Gold Cup day on March 16th. It should also be remembered that he defeated Long Run easily in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock back in November and is now all square at two wins each with “the young pretender”.

Winning the world’s most prestigious steeplechase as a 12 year old is not an easy task of course, the last horse to do it was the great What A Myth back in 1969. However, that is just one of the intriguing aspects of the race, the main one now being his fifth confrontation with Long Run which will undoubtedly capture the imagination of the wider public. This showdown race will make the 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup one of the biggest sporting box-office draws during this home based Olympic year and should end the argument one way or another of just how great Kauto Star really is.

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