Monday, February 18, 2008

Kauto's Star will NOT win at Cheltenham says Paul Barber!!

Paul Barber believes Denman is "a good thing" for totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup glory, according to fellow part-owner Harry Findlay.
The eight-year-old has been tussling with stablemate and reigning champion Kauto Star at the head of the Cheltenham market throughout the season.
While Denman bagged Newbury's Aon Chase earlier in the month in hugely convincing style, Kauto Star blew away the opposition in Saturday's Grade One Ascot Chase.
The usually bullish Findlay admits to being hugely impressed with the reigning champion, but reports his co-owner to have unwavering faith in Denman.
"I thought Kauto Star looked real special on Saturday," said Findlay.
"He was really exuberant at the second last and he was full of running, he really turned it on.
"I've got so much respect for Kauto, he's such a machine and I think we just need that rain.
"Paul Barber is the best weather man I know and his old maxim is that if there's no rain in February, there will be in March.
"Paul Nicholls won't have it that there is any doubt about Kauto staying the trip, but I do think everything went right last year and I don't think he really gets three-miles-two at Cheltenham.
"Paul Barber really, really believes Denman is a good thing. He's such a great judge of these things.
"He's looking forward to this more than anything in his life and he has won a Gold Cup before."
The long-awaited clash between the two stable companions looked to be in doubt on Saturday night after it emerged Kauto Star had returned home lame.
However, Nicholls expects him to be ready for the title defence after discovering a minor infection had caused the problem - rather than a sprained fetlock as was first feared.
"It's basically a minor setback and shouldn't affect him too much," said Nicholls.
"He would have had a couple of days off after running anyway and this should clear up within 48 hours, so it shouldn't make too much difference.
"We were fairly confident it was something simple like that but it's a huge relief,"
Clive Smith, Kauto Star's owner, admitted he had barely slept after worrying about his pride and joy all night.
"I'm so tired. We actually went to bed early but I couldn't sleep, so I got up and watched the film 'Goodbye Mr Chips' and thought it was goodbye to the Gold Cup and I'd had my chips!," he joked.
"I just think he's getting better and better with every race and is improving. He seems to be coming on.
"He got a bit close to one early on but he neatly took an extra stride and popped over. He's getting very smart and intelligent as he matures.
"This is a different pressure (to last year). The expectation and hope was there last year. Perhaps there's a little more of the 'he can do it and will do it' - just more confidence I suppose."
Like Findlay, Smith is relieved the clash of Kauto Star and Denman is still on the cards.
"Both Harry and I want our horses there so we can battle it out and may the best horse win - I'm sure that's the way it will turn out," he told At The Races.
"I think we have a very classy animal in Kauto Star - he's a beautiful mover and he's got a touch of acceleration at the right time.
"I agree Denman will be trying to burn him off but we have got to be there and take him on and get up the hill ahead of him.
"He's a relentless galloper and nobody has seen the best of Denman yet. I'm sure he's not bottomed out and also you would say that about Kauto.
"Both horses will be spot-on on the day and at their best. One will beat the other and make it a great result."
Even if Denman fails to top Kauto Star at Cheltenham, Findlay remains confident of the gelding landing a big prize over staying trips next term.
"I think he's a certainty for next year's National if Paul Barber lets us go, which he looks up for," he added.
"Kauto Star at three miles would be a certainty but over three-miles-six at Chepstow (for example), we would be unbackable and unbeatable."
The Big G

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