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Walsh key to Kauto bid - Smith

Owner Clive Smith feels Ruby Walsh's return aboard Kauto Star strengthens his chances of landing a third totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday week.

The Paul Nicholls-trained gelding failed in his bid to claim a record-breaking fifth King George VI Chase, after which he was found to have bled, but it is all systems go as he seeks to capture the blue riband at the age of 11.

And with Walsh back in the saddle after recently returning from injury - Tony McCoy did the steering at Kempton - Smith feels Kauto Star could regain the big race for a second time after striking gold in 2007 and 2009.

"We feel it will be different with Ruby back and the two know each other so well we will have a much more favourable result," Smith told At The Races.

"As good as Tony McCoy is, he has a different style of riding and I'm very pleased that Ruby is able to get back on Kauto again.

"It would be incredible if he could regain the Gold Cup for a second time. I think he's got a great chance."

Midnight Chase, meanwhile, has been getting his eye in by showjumping as Neil Mulholland attempts to keep him interested throughout his training regime, having not run since December.

"He went to a place in January after going a few times last summer and he absolutely loves it, he's a real good showjumper," said Mulholland. "He jumps doubles. It's something a bit different, but he really enjoys it.

"It's a change of scenery. Even on a Sunday on his day off my wife will ride a pony and I'll ride him on the roads. He likes the change of the different routes and things. He's a happy horse."

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