Long Run doubts gives Kauto Star a Betfair Chase hope
If Kauto Star does have one last big-race victory left in his ageing legs then the Betfair Chase at Haydock may present the best opportunity of success.
Kauto Star’s odds are the biggest they have ever been in recent years as he is 8/1 to win the Betfair Chase, but there are valid grounds for this.
Not only is the legendary horse now at the ripe old age of 11, he looked a shadow of his former self when pulling up at Punchestown on his latest start in May.
However, Kauto Star may now just need longer to recuperate between races and a repeat of his display in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March would see him go close at Haydock.
He has had the luxury of close to six months off the track for trainer Paul Nicholls to get himself right and Kauto Star has triumphed on his first start of the new season in each of the last two years.
Long Run is 4/6 in the horse racing odds to win the Betfair Chase and many people believe that all the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner has to do is turn up at Haydock to secure victory.
But he ran below par on his first start of last season when failing to beat a substantially weaker field in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and there is a slight possibility that he will be shy of top form again on his first start of this campaign, particularly in the jumping department.
The King George and Cheltenham Gold Cup will certainly be the bigger targets and Nicholls agrees that Long Run could have an off day at Haydock.
Nicholls said: “You don’t tend to have Gold Cup winners hard fit for their reappearances. “I’ve just got a feeling that Kauto Star will run a really big race.”
There will probably not be a bigger cheer all season in any race than if Kauto Star did return to the winners’ enclosure after the Betfair Chase.