Trainer Paul Nicholls says he will decide tomorrow whether or not to run Kauto Star in the James Nicholson Champion Chase at the Down Royal Festival next week but the prospects are not looking good.
Nicholls said: “Kauto Star and My Will have been left in but the other entry, Taranis, will defintiely not run.
“I will be talking to Colin Smith, owner of Kauto Star, over the weekend and I will see what he says before making a final decision.”
At the moment Kauto has an alternative engagement at Haydock Park and it appears the owner would prefer to go there rather than travel to Down Royal. However, it will be tomorrow before Nicholls decides one way or the other.
Meanwhile Jim Lambe is another uncertain about running plans in the big race but has more runners at Wetherby today and expects to get winners with Skylancer and Quivvy Bridge.
Natal, who won for Lambe at Galway during the summer, has been left in until the final acceptors’ stage.
“I have made no decison about whether or not to run but the weather will be a big factor,” said Lamb.
The current wet weather will also put off other trainers from running and Dessie Hughes, trainer of Schindlers Hunt who was runner-up at Thurles, has said that if it comes up very soft, Schindlers would not be involved.
It’s the same for Church Island from Michael Hourgian’s yard and owned by Ulsterman Joe Craig, the combination responsible for twice-winner Beef Or Salmon.
Craig said: Church Island hates soft ground and if it’s heavey, he will definitely not be there.”
Joe Lively is likely to represent Charlie Tizzard but, again, nothing will be firmed up until tomorrow’s declaration stage.
In addition, Mansony — who was pulled up at Punchstown last time out, — is likely to represent Arthur Moore and Belfast’s Michael Mulholland while Notre Pere is a confirmed runner for Jim Dreaper’s stable.
The Listener, trained by Nicky Mitchell and who finished fourth in the race last year, is on track again as is former Gold Cup winner War Of Attrition who was runner-up to Beef Or Salmon in 2006 for Mouse Morris.
At Naas today, Colin McBratney runs Selection Box who is on target for some big races at the end of the year but not at the Down Royal Festival.
A better prospect is the Ulster National which McBrat ny is hopeful of winning after the horse made a major blunder last year.