Kauto Star major doubt for Gold Cup

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OWNER Clive Smith stressed this evening that Kauto Star will only run in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup if he is back to his absolute best.

The dual Gold Cup hero, now a 12-year-old, is described by trainer Paul Nicholls as only “50-50” to make the blue riband on March 16 after a fall when schooling last week at his Ditcheat yard under Ruby Walsh.

Smith told Press Association Sport: “It’s very sad that it’s happened. We’ve got two weeks tomorrow to get him right if there is a way of getting him right.

“I wouldn’t want him to run unless he was well and truly able to give his best.

“It would be tragic if he wasn’t at his best and had a fall. He’s got to be right.

“His life is more important than trying to win the Gold Cup, so we’ve just got to see how he is.

“He’s got to make massive improvement, but there’s still a chance.

“He’s still very sore and Buffy Shirley-Beavan (vet) is looking where he’s got a very sore bruise. He’s been massaged and very well looked after by Paul Nicholls and his team and Clifford Baker.

“We’re just trying to get him right. He has improved every day since it happened last Friday.

“He could improve a lot from this point. He’s very fit, but his bruises have got to be put right, then he might be fit enough to run.”

For more on this story, read Tom Richmond in the Yorkshire Post on Friday