led, joined 11th, not fluent 14th (water), headed 5 out, soon lost place, 4th and outpaced when blundered 3 out, soon ridden and no impression, stayed on under pressure from last, just failed for 3rd
Unless the heavens open in biblical fashion it seems foolish to desert the reigning champion KAUTO STAR and the Clive Smith-owned superstar can win his third Gold Cup at the main expense of stablemate Denman and Imperial Commander He was made to work hard for 'victory' in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on his first start (I still can't split him and Imperial Commander on the photo print) but was always expected to come on plenty for that. His subsequent performance at Kempton on Boxing Day, when he won his fourth King George, was a joy to behold and whilst those in behind were not at their best, it was a simply a stunning performance. He has been trained all year for this and is expected to glide to victory. Connections of stablemate Denman must work out a plan on how to beat the Champion, with a strong gallop forcing him into making errors the obvious route. Reports from the yard have been positive since his error-strewn performance in the Aon Chase but it is hard to be too confident about his link-up with new jockey AP McCoy. On that evidence one of these forceful personalities will have to give way in order for the pair to prevail. Imperial Commander ran such a good race at Haydock that his subsequent defeat at Kempton was a real let down. Admittedly he made some serious errors early in the race and hopes must be pinned on this course specialist revelling in a return to going left-handed. If he gets the trip (jockey is confident he will) then he could be a real thorn in the side of his more illustrious rivals. Cooldine was emphatic when winning the RSA Chase here twelve months ago but hasn't fired since. His effort behind Joncol in the Lexus was more like it, however that form still leaves him with a mountain to climb and the novice form from last year looks nothing special. Carruthers is a gallant front-running handicapper and a victory for his owner Lord Oaksey would raise the roof, but it is unlikely, so a bigger danger could be Tricky Trixster, the third-string of the Ditcheat team. He was being given a quiet ride behind Denman before his departure at Newbury and it was only then that his rider got after him. He battled on tremendously to take the race from Niche Market. It would be foolish to think that form would see him within fifty lengths here, but he is open to improvement and whilst the Grand National is his main target, he could easily run on into a place here with stamina a real asset. My Will is having a prep run for Aintree but he ran a blinder in this last year, whilst Mon Mome is another using this race as a stepping stone to the Grand National and it has worked for horses in the past. Calgary Bay's trainer has admitted that they are tilting at windmills, a comment that must also apply to Mr Pointment and stablemate Cerium. This is no walk in the park for the great Kauto Star, but it is a race that should provide him with his third Gold Cup.
Calgary Bay (IRE) 12-1 (11-10) Held up, headway 5 out, led 2 out, clear approaching last, won at Doncaster 3m hcp chs 0-150 (2) gd in Dec beating Alderburn (11-3) by 7l, 12 ran.
Carruthers 7-4fav (11-6) Prominent, blundered 4th, challenged 12th, led 14th, went left 3 out, headed 2 out, chased winner, tried to rally after last until no extra and held final 100 yards, 2nd of 7, 6l behind Taranis (11-0) at Cheltenham 3m 1f chs Grd 2 (1) sft in Jan.
Cerium (FR) 100-1 (10-5) Towards rear, headway after 4 out, ridden after next, kept on one pace from 2 out, 5th of 40, 19l behind Mon Mome (11-0) at Aintree 4m 4f hcp chs Grd 3 (1) gs in Apr.
Cooldine (IRE) 5-2 (11-10) Led, bad mistake 6th, joined and ridden entering straight, headed and no extra close home, 2nd of 7, nk behind Joncol (11-10) at Leopardstown 3m Grade 1 chs hvy in Feb.
Denman (IRE) 1-6fav (11-6) With leader, took narrow lead 7th, going strongly and 3 lengths clear when blundered 4 out, blundered and unseated rider 3 out, in a race won by Tricky Trickster (11-3) at Newbury 3m chs Grd 2 (1) gs in Feb, 6 ran.
Imperial Commander (IRE) 13-2 (11-10) Mistake 2nd, soon behind, headway 7th, never on terms, 5th of 13, well behind Kauto Star (11-10) at Kempton 3m Grade 1 chs (4yo+) (1) gs in Dec.
Kauto Star (FR) 8-13fav (11-10) Held up in touch, tracked leader 12th, led before 3 out, clear before next, impressive, won at Kempton 3m Grade 1 chs (4yo+) (1) gs in Dec beating Madison Du Berlais (11-10) by 37l, 13 ran.
Mon Mome (FR) 14-1 (11-7) Held up towards rear, mid-division 10th, outpaced from 16th, 6th of 14, 35l behind Silver By Nature (10-11) at Haydock 3m 4f hcp chs G3 (1) hvy in Feb.
Mr Pointment (IRE) 16-1 (11-5) Not fluent, always behind, ridden and struggling 11th, tailed off, 12th of 15, well behind New Little Bric (10-2) at Newbury 2m 4f hcp chs G3 (1) gd in Feb '09.
My Will (FR) 5-2 (10-12) Tracked leaders, not fluent 9th, ridden and weakened approaching 11th, tailed off when hit 3 out, last of 5, well behind Our Vic (10-12) at Warwick 3m chs (2) sft in Dec.
Tricky Trickster (IRE) 8-1 (11-3) Tracked leading pair, pushed along approaching 14th, left 8 lengths down in 2nd 3 out, still plenty to do last, rallied on inner as leader idled towards finish, driven to lead final strides, won at Newbury 3m chs Grd 2 (1) gs in Feb beating Niche Market (11-6) by shd, 6 ran.