The Blue Riband of chasing and very much the kingpin of the entire four days at the Cheltenham Festival and one that this year will see a re-match between Long Run and Kauto Star. Last year it was the younger Long Run who knocked Kauto Star off his perch but since that day in March the “veteran” Kauto Star has gained his revenge on two occasions in the Betfair Chase and the King George at Kempton.
In the former Kauto Star’s jumping and possible fitness advantage saw him beat Long Run easily but on more level terms the result was the same in the King George.
Kauto Star has already written and re-written plenty of the racing history books and to be successful in the 2012 Betfred Gold Cup he’s going to have to repeat that feat. No horse older than ten has won since 1969 let alone a twelve-year-old and even ten-year-olds struggle these days with just one winner in the last 18 renewals.
Already the only Gold Cup winner to regain his title after losing it, Kauto Star would be achieving that feat for a remarkable second time if he can pull off a victory in 2012 and gain another victory over Long Run. Those searching for Cheltenham 2012 bets need to remember this.
It may not only be all about the “Big Two” though as the fly in the ointment could well be the novice Grands Crus who has looked a real tool in his novice races so far. That’s the key word though – novice – if he does take his chance no novice has won since 1974 and Grands Crus would be attempting to take the great race with less chase races under his belt than the late great mare Dawn Run. Fans of 2012 Cheltenham betting tips should bear this in mind.
Other stats worthy of recognition are that only one of the last 13 winners failed to score earlier in the season, nine of the last 11 had won or finished second at the Cheltenham Festival before – once again showing the worth of previous course of Festival form.