Kauto Star - Haydock 19.11.2011

Kauto Star joined Long Run at the head of the Gold Cup betting on Friday

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)  

Kauto Star shortens after Long Run scrapes home

KAUTO STAR joined Long Run at the head of the betting for next month's Betfred Gold Cup after the reigning champion failed to impress when winning his warm up race at Newbury.

Long Run only beat stablemate Burton Port narrowly in the Grade 2 Betfair Denman Chase, an effort which resulted in bookmakers easing his price for the March 16 contest.

Burton Port was in receipt of 10lb to get within half a length of Long Run but even so the layers did not like what they saw. The sponsors were among a number of the firms who pushed Long Run out to 5-2 for the Gold Cup while Ladbrokes have him at that price along with dual Gold Cup hero Kauto Star who had been 4-1 on Friday morning.

Ladbrokes spokesman David Williams said: "Punters remain hesitant about the abilities of Long Run to land back-to-back Gold Cups. It wasn't the most convincing victory and we're happy to take a few quid out of him once again."

Burton Port's Gold Cup odds were cut to as short as 8-1 with Ladbrokes. He is no bigger than 14-1 for the race.

More than 12,500 racegoers packed into Newbury on Friday for their rearranged card which gave plenty of clues for next month's Cheltenham Festival.

Sprinter Sacre's position as ante-post favourite the Racing Post Arkle Chase hardened after a highly-impressive performance saw him slam more seasoned rivals in the Betfair Super Saturday Chase.

The Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old is now asshort as evens with William Hill to maintain his unbeaten record over fences in the Arkle, a race for which he is now no bigger than 11-8.

Zarkandar made a belated return in the Betfair Hurdle and a last gasp win advertised his claims for the Stan James Champion Hurdle.

The five-year-old has deposed Grandouet, who will miss his intended run at Wincanton on Saturday, as the second favourite for the Champion Hurdle, a race for which he is as short as 9-2 with Bet365.

Montbazon's win in a novice hurdle at Newbury means he is now no bigger than 12-1 in the wide open William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle while For Non Stop closed in on favourite Sir Des Champs at the head of the betting for the Jewson Novices' Chase, a race for which he is now a general 7-1 chance.

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