Cheltenham Gold Cup 2007 – Kauto Star

The 2007 Cheltenham Gold Cup was a competitive renewal, numerically, with eighteen runners facing the starter. However, all eyes were on the seven-year-old Kauto Star, making his first appearance in the ‘Blue Riband’ event of British steeplechasing after winning all five starts since falling at the third fence in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the 2006 Cheltenham Festival. Indeed, two of those wins had come in the Betfair Chase at Haydock and the King George VI Chase at Kempton – the first two legs of the so-called ‘Betfair Million’ – so victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup would yield a bonus of £1 million, in addition to winning prize money in excess of £242,000.

Unsurprisingly, Kauto Star was sent off a short-priced favourite, at 5/4, to complete his lucrative treble and, in so doing, confirm King George VI Chase form with his old rival, Exotic Dancer, whom he had beaten by eight lengths at Kempton, despite a heart-stopping blunder at the final fence. Patiently ridden by Ruby Walsh, Kauto Star improved from the rear of the field heading out onto the second circuit and moved into a challenging position after the fourth-last. Paul Nicholls’ charge quickened into the lead two out and although first Turpin Green, a 40/1 chance ridden by Tony Dobbin, and then Exotic Dancer, the 9/2 second favourite ridden by A.P. McCoy, gave chase, neither could make much impression in the closing stages.

At the final fence, Kauto Star made his one and only mistake to give his nearest pursuers renewed hope, but lost little momentum and stayed on strongly up the hill to beat Exotic Dancer by 2½ lengths, with Turpin Green the same distance further behind in third place. By adding a Grade One victory over 3 miles 2½ furlongs to previous wins at the highest level at distances ranging from 1 mile 7½ furlongs to 3 miles, Kauto Star confirmed himself as the best horse at all distances since Desert Orchid, and was still only a seven-year-old.

Leave a Comment