Punchestown run may define Kauto Star’s 2012 plans
Paul Nicholls said after the Cheltenham Gold Cup that Kauto Star would return next season to compete again as a 12-year-old and it will be interesting to see if he sticks by this decision after the upcoming Punchestown Festival.
Nicholls’ previous comments have led to Kauto Star being priced at 16/1 in the 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup odds and 8/1 in the King George betting, which are both races that he finished third in this season.
However, his next run is expected to be in the Guinness Gold Cup at Punchestown on May 4th, where his opponents are to include Nacarat among others if the ground is firm enough.
According to the Racing Post, Nicholls said: “He will definitely go. He was entered this morning and the plan is to go as I think the race will suit him and he seems well in himself at present.”
Although unlikely that Kauto Star will win any of the aforementioned Group One’s next season, if he can finish in the places or even in the top five, there is still decent prize money up for grabs.
But it remains to be seen if this is really the way that connections will want to end the career of a horse that has previously won two Cheltenham Gold Cups and four King Georges.
A fall or a below-par run at Punchestown may be the result that will tell connections that the horse has had his day and is deserving of a retirement.
Meanwhile, a victory in Ireland may be the perfect finale to allow Kauto Star to go out on a high.
On the flip side, a victory may confirm the comments of Nicholls that the horse has another year of top-class racing left in him.
A £30 stake on Kauto Star winning the 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup would return £480. New customers can sign up here for a free £30 bet.