Owner Clive Smith and trainer Paul Nicholls have decided not to run Kauto Star in the Hennessy Gold Cup as the owners target the King George and Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Paul Nicholls has said that he and Clive Smith came to the decision that they wouldn’t want to jeopardise Kauto Star’s chances of winning a fifth King George and a third Gold Cup by running at Newbury.
“Two factors have mitigated against us running him,” said Nicholls.
“Kauto Star came back from Down Royal a little bit quiet, and you need to be at the top of your game to win a Hennessy.”
“Secondly, while he is fine and could have run in the race, you have to look at what running at Newbury could have done to the rest of his season.”
Currently Kauto Star is the 5/4 ante-post favourite for the King George, and the 7/2 ante-post favourite to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and Nicholls and Smith aren’t prepared to risk his chances of being the first horse to win five King George’s by running at Newbury.
It does mean that the Hennessy Gold Cup betting market is now headed by Kauto Star’s stablemate and rival Denman, who is 4/1 in the Newbury ante-post betting to win and Nicholls confirmed Denman will head to Newbury.
Denman will be just one of five runners that Nicholls will saddle for the Hennessy Gold Cup and he is joined by Neptune Collonges (16/1), Taranis (14/1), The Tother One (25/1) and Niche Market (25/1).
The Hennessy Gold Cup is the highlight of Newbury’s Winter Festival which starts on Thursday 25th November and Paul Nicholls has chances of winning the £114,000 first prize.
The Queen’s horse Barbers Shop is 25/1 to win the Hennessy Gold Cup in the ante-post market. See the full future horse racing betting odds here.