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Kauto Star doubtful for Gold Cup

The nation’s most popular steeplechaser Kauto Star is not guaranteed to line up for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. A fall at the stables has left the trainer Paul Nicholls uncertain whether the horse will be ready to race on March 16. The horse is attempting to win its third Gold Cup, and cap a glorious career in style.

The vets had been unable to identify any specific injury, but Nicholls initially estimated the horse’s chances of making the race at fifty-fifty. He was more optimistic after watching Kauto Star in a training canter.

"He had more of a buzz and a spring in his step, and a bit of the old swagger had returned," Nicholls wrote in his Betfair column. "I cannot tell you how massively relieved I am to see Kauto progressing and going forward."

Nicholls said that the horse’s progress will be monitored closely in the days leading up to Cheltenham. "Don't get me wrong, or carried away, because he is not there yet," the trainer said. "Not at all, and things can change daily. But this was a step in the right direction and I'm much happier, I can tell you."

Kauto Star is seeking revenge over Long Run after losing last year’s Gold Cup. The veteran horse has made an impressive return to form over the winter, winning the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day.

The trainer has said that deciding whether Kauto Star runs at Cheltenham will be "the biggest decision I have ever had to make."

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