After Kauto Star had a “pretty awful fall” on the gallops last week at the Somerset yard of Paul Nicholls. It seemed the two-time champion’s return to the Cheltenham Festival this year was in doubt, particularly as the trainer only gave him a 50/50 chance of competing.

However, after a recent run out with stablemate What A Friend (also a Gold Cup Hopeful), Nicholls stated his satisfaction by saying

“Kauto had his physio this morning and had an hour on the walker, and you could just tell that he had more of a buzz and a spring in his step, and that a bit of the old swagger had returned, So we decided to send him out second lot and he did a strong canter over ten furlongs with What A Friend, and delighted us.”

“I cannot tell you how massively relieved I am to see Kauto progressing and going forward.”

Although Nicholls added

“Don’t get me wrong, or carried away, because he is not there yet.”

“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.”

Lesley Rigg /