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Last Updated: Friday, 16 March 2007, 15:32 GMT
Cheltenham Festival day four
Cheltenham, 16 March, 2007
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Ruby Walsh on Kauto Star
Kauto Star was never troubled after taking the lead
Favourite Kauto Star won the coveted Gold Cup on Friday on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival.

Once he took the lead at the second- last fence, the Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old, ridden by Ruby Walsh, looked in superb form.

Despite a scare at the final fence, the 5-4 favourite won by two and a half lengths won from Exotic Dancer, ridden by Tony McCoy.

Turpin Green, ridden by Tony Dobbin, was back in third.

As well as the 200,000 for winning the race, Kauto Star's connections, led by owner Clive Smith, win 1m for the earlier wins in the Betfair Chase at Haydock and the King George VI Chase at Kempton.

The winner's stable companion Neptune Collonges led the field into the straight but there was a slight panic when a loose horse, Idle Talk, threatened to cause problems.

606: DEBATE

Tony McCoy stalked Kauto Star all the way on Exotic Dancer but he could not match the market leader's impressive turn of foot where it mattered.

But the race was all about Kauto Star and he was always going to win if he safely negotiated the final fence, despite worries about his jumping in the run-up to it.

Nicholls said: "All the talk about his jumping has been a load of rubbish, why couldn't people just concentrate on the fact he had won all his five races this season?

"Ruby knew what he had to do and I just told him to go out there and do what you do best.

"I told him to just have faith in him and that is what he did. It feels brilliant, it's absolutely unbelievable, I cannot tell you how nerve-wracking this last month has been.

The sheer delight and relief after the line was amazing

Winning jockey Ruby Walsh

"Everyone has had their doubts about Denman and this fellow, but they are good horses and they have done the job at the end of the day. We've had the last laugh.

"He needed the run at Newbury and after that it's been work, work, work. The owner has always left it to us, which has been brilliant."

Walsh, who was celebrating winning the race for the first time, added: "He was settled in the parade ring and during the race, so it was just a matter of when I pressed the button.

"He got there easily enough, there was just a little doubt about whether he would get home or not.

"I completely forgot about all the pressure during the race, despite everybody having an opinion on Kauto Star. This is the greatest race and he has won it easily.

"He probably is a once in a lifetime horse with winning at two and three miles. The sheer delight and relief after the line was amazing."


1515 Totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup (3m 2f)
1. Kauto Star (Ruby Walsh) 5-4 fav
2. Exotic Dancer (Tony McCoy) 9-2
3. Turpin Green (Tony Dobbin) 40-1
18 ran



SEE ALSO
Kauto Star focus
19 Mar 07 |  Horse Racing
Kauto team hail Gold Cup 'superstar'
16 Mar 07 |  Horse Racing
Owner relieved at Kauto triumph
19 Mar 07 |  Horse Racing


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