Kauto’s absence paves way for Balthazar King in Bet365 Gold Cup
The decision by Paul Nicholls to run Kauto Star at the Punchestown Festival means the weights for the 25 Bet365 Gold Cup entries for Saturday’s race are a lot fairer.
Kauto Star’s official rating of 174 puts him 19lb’s higher than Siegemaster and left many of the entries running out of the handicap.
But Kauto Star’s decision to run in the Punchestown Guinness Gold Cup – a race he is 6/4 favourite to win – means Siegemaster now holds top weight at 11st 12lb and now 19 of the 25 entries at the five-day stage are running to their handicap.
Baby Run currently heads the Bet365 Gold Cup betting at 5/1 and comes into the race having won five of his last seven starts with Philip Hobbs’ Balthazar King second favourite at 6/1.
The revised weights have given Balthazar King’s jockey Richard Johnson a renewed enthusiasm for this race and he believes his mount has a brilliant chance of winning at Sandown on Saturday.
“Balthazar King won the other day and now he’s got in the handicap proper I’d think he’d have a great chance,” said Johnson.
“The way he stayed on at Cheltenham up the hill there you’d hope he’d get the three mile, five furlongs.”
The novice chaser will be making his first start in a handicap over fences but having won four of his seven starts over fences, including some impressive runs in defeat behind Time For Rupert, Wayward Prince and Chicago Grey, the seven-year-old is ready for the step up.
Dessie Hughes trains top weight Siegemaster (20/1) and the Grand National winning trainer confirmed his ten-year-old is more likely to go for Sandown’s Gold Cup rather than the Irish Grand National.
A £10 stake on Balthazar King winning the Bet265 Gold Cup at Sandown would return £70. New customers can sign up here to receive a free horse racing bet worth up to £30.