15:20 Cheltenham – Weird Al to upset Kauto Star to win Gold Cup
A victory for Kauto Star in the Cheltenham Gold Cup would perhaps generate the biggest roar in the history of the Festival and it is 7/2 that he wins the race for a third time.
Kauto Star will have to eclipse long-standing records to do so, most notably becoming the oldest Cheltenham Gold Cup winner for 43 years.
A recent heavy fall in schooling must also be seen as a negative, even though trainer Paul Nicholls insists he has recovered well.
Two big victories this year are the reason for the hope, but he has almost run too perfectly on each occasion and it is hard to believe that a third repeat is possible.
Meanwhile, he will not get his own way up front this time and Cheltenham can never be classified as his favourite track.
Long Run is favourite at 2/1 to defend his title and to many punters it is a two-horse race.
The form of Nicky Henderson horses this week is a major boost to his chances and the extra stamina tests at Cheltenham should suit him more than Kauto Star.
He is expected to beat Kauto Star, but for the first time in 12 years, the winner may come from outside the first three in the Cheltenham Gold Cup odds.
There is plenty of each-way value on offer given the strength in the market of the big two and Weird Al can spring a surprise at 10/1.
The early strong pace will suit him as he can simply switch off out the back and he showed earlier in the season when third in the Betfair Chase to the two favourites that he is up to this class.
He finished within 10 lengths of winner Kauto Star and was arguably still below optimum fitness.
Donald McCain has given him a lengthy rest and seven of the last ten winners were without a run in the same calendar year as the Cheltenham Gold Cup.