17.30 Punchestown – Respect Nacarat but Kauto can star
The Punchestown Guinness Gold Cup is the feature race of the Punchestown Festival and with Kauto Star among the eight-horse field, all eyes will be on the dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner later today.
The eldest of the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup contenders, Kauto Star put in a sterling performance before being found wanting with one fence to jump and his age is the reason he isn’t odds-on for the Punchestown Gold Cup.
Kauto Star heads the betting at 11/8 with Kempes and Nacarat his closes rivals in the Punchestown Gold Cup betting at 7/2.
Make no mistake, Kauto Star is by far and away the class horse of this race and while Kempes has the course form, his run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup was less than convincing in a race in which class told.
Nacarat is the main threat to Kauto Star but even Tom George’s ten-year-old couldn’t get near Kauto Star when the two met in the King George Chase in January despite some appalling jumping from Kauto Star.
Nacarat won Aintree’s Totesport Bowl at the Grand National meeting and the only two horses that have attempted the Totesport Bowl and Punchestown Gold Cup double have done so successfully.
But Should Kauto Star repeat the performance he put in at Cheltenham then this race is his for the taking but the one negative against the Paul Nicholls star is that he’s never run around Punchestown.
Seven of the last nine favourites have won this race and six of the last nine winners were proven Grade One winners suggesting class comes to the fore in this race.
Kauto Star may be an ageing force but his class is superior to any of the other horses in this race and an error-free round of jumping will see Kauto Star claim the victory.
A £30 stake on Kauto Star winning the Punchestown Gold Cup would return £71.25. Sign up here to take advantage of a free Punchestown Festival bet worth up to £30.