Page 19 - April 2008 The Game
P. 19

Canada’s Thoroughbred Racing Newspaper
The Cheltenham Gold Cup.
It was hailed as the biggest showdown
between two chasers since the epic
battles of the great Arkle and his young
adversary Millhouse back in the 60’s.
Adding more spice to the buildup was
that the two new protagonists were both trained by the same trainer down in the South West of England by Paul Nicholls. The trainer wouldn’t be drawn by the media as to which he thought would be victorious, but was prepared to speak openly on the virtues of both horses.
The reigning champion Kauto Star is all class, a
winner at distances between two miles and three and a quarter, he travels well, no jumps with  uency and has that precious commodity in any racehorse, gears. The other part of the equation, Denman, is more of a stayer, a strongly built resolute galloper who has only been beaten once in his 13 lifetime races and that was over hurdles at the Festival in 2006.
The individual preparations had gone well, although there was a scare a few weeks before regarding a sprain with Kauto Star and his price drifted out from around even money out to an extraordinary 11/2 for a short time. Paul Nicholls announced shortly that the problem wasn’t serious and the horse would not miss any work. Speculation was strong throughout the racing world as to which horse would take the glory and support was divided fairly evenly into both camps. Prior to the Gold Cup, Nicholls discusses the strengths and weaknesses of both horses with their big race jockeys and set down tactics accordingly.
The betting indicated that this was an evenly matched race, almost to the exclusion of the other runners.
On the big day, Kauto Star held favouritism at 10/11 with one bet struck on course at an even C$200,000 with Denman a well supported 9/4. In the paddock, both horses looked immaculate and trained to the minute, Kauto Star the supreme athlete and Denman the epitome of a traditional chaser.
The third string of trainer Nicholls, Neptune
Collonges led the  eld until the 12th fence when his Denman who had been comfortably tracking him took up the running. With stamina his forte, he Sam Thomas sent him on with the plan to take advantage of this strength and stretch the others, notably his stablemate. This strategy found out Kauto Star who was not jump- ing with  uency
out of the sticky
ground and the
writing was on
the wall quite a
way from home.
Denman forged
clear and stayed
on well up the hill
to the line, with
Kauto Star staying
on resolutely but in
vain to just fend off
his other stable-
mate for second
With C$536,500
in the bag, that
will complete
Denman’s season
and the speculated
target next season
will be a debut in
the Hennessy Gold
Cup at Newbury
at the end of
November, a race
he waltzed away
The Game, April 2008 19 OutsidetheBorders 7lb allowance, the 5yo was always
with last time. If he does run, there will be little that will get into the handicap proper, but hopefully that won’t deter trainers to take him on.
Kauto Star will probably turn out again, but this time down in trip by 3/4 a mile for the Melling Chase at Aintree and he’ll take some beating as we probably didn’t see a Kauto Star  ring on all cylinders at Cheltenham.
the race. She blazed a trail for much of the race and showed wonderful resolution when looking well beaten to stay on determinedly to regain second place.
with Nigel Griffiths
going to be up against it, but ran a tremendous race for connections to take a creditable second to the very useful Tidal Bay after leading the  eld under Tony McCoy for much of
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Other highlights from the festival came from
a number of sources. Paul Nicholls seems to have a monster in Master Minded, who totally dominated a useful  eld in the Queen Mother Champion Chase over 2 miles and as a 5yo will all being well, have a very exciting future in front of him.
Many had reservations as to whether 9yo Inglis Drever could make it a treble of Stayers Hurdle victories and stave off his younger rivals to lift the crown, but quality always shines through and this outstanding horse held off the young French challenger Kasbah Bliss for ecstatic connections.
Another that excels at this particular track is the little terrier of a horse, Katchit. An emphatic winner as a juvenile of last years Triumph Hurdle, many regarded his chances as slim of him stepping up against older more experienced horses and taking victory as a 5yo, last experi- enced by the fragile See You Then back in the mid 80’s. He’s now 5 from 6 at the track now, quite a marvel when one considers he’s only a wee chappie, but more importantly he has the heart of a lion.
Canada was repre-
sented by owner Ron Brimacombe and his French import Kru- guyrova a Gr3 winning hurdler across the chan- nel and now showing real promise over fences. Although gaining a
Now Standing for 2008! AtlasShrugs
Compadre - Ms. Forum, by Open Forum
• Back to back Stakes Winner at 3 defeating Vibank in the Woodstock & Edenwold in the Queenston.
• Winner of 6f $80,000 Claiming
• Proven Sprinter winning at 4.5-7f . Winner of 6f & 7f Stakes • Broke his maiden in  rst start at 2 MSW going 4.5f
• Stakes Placed at 2 in the Clarendon & Frost King Stakes
• Career earnings of $378,180
• Son of Proven Sire Compadre
2008 Fee: $1500 l.f.
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The Game April 2008.indd 19
3/27/08 11:56:02 PM

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