Strictly embargoed until Monday 15th March, 2010
Today marks just 24 hours until the start of one of racing’s greatest occasions, The Cheltenham Festival, and five days until one of sport’s biggest battles commences. The world’s two highest rated jump horses, Kauto Star and Denman, will face each other in the totesport Gold Cup on Friday for the third consecutive time, with Kauto Star bidding for his third win in the race and Denman fighting back for his second.
Both horses carry jockeys who have held the Champion Title – Kauto Star in the shape of former Irish Champion, Ruby Walsh, and Denman, reigning British Champion, Tony McCoy. This extraordinary battle has attracted interest from a wide and varied audience and has split views across the country. The sleepy village of Ditcheat in Somerset, where both horses are trained by Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls, is divided with 49% backing Kauto Star and 51% rooting for Denman – household rivalry has been set alight with this great sporting occasion.
So while villages divide and opinions are split, what are the thoughts of some of our country’s famous faces as to who will win Jump Racing’s Crown Jewels?
England and Premiership footballer, Michael Owen:
“It’s the ultimate match: the tough, gritty AP and Denman, versus the skill and flair of Ruby and Kauto Star although at the prices, my wallet says Denman.”
World Champion Heavyweight Boxer, David Haye:
“They remind me of Muhammad Ali and George Foreman – Kauto’s brilliantly talented and flashy like Ali, whilst Denman’s a real slugger like George Foreman. The Cheltenham Gold Cup this year is racing’s very own ‘Rumble in the Jungle!’”
Former supermodel, Jodie Kidd:
“Kauto Star has proven this year that he is as good as ever, whereas Denman has to come back from a disappointing performance at Newbury. My money is on Kauto Star. I think that the only way that Denman could beat Kauto Star is if the ground is testing.”
ITV Presenter, Jeremy Kyle:
“Tony McCoy riding Denman adds yet more spice to the dual; the Gold Cup now has the two best horses and jockeys. Denman is a very good horse but to me, Kauto Star is one of the best ever. I was lucky enough to be at Kempton on Boxing Day and he was awesome. I think Kauto Star will win the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup.”
Top Jockey and TV Personality, Frankie Dettori:
”I think Kauto Star will win because he has a good cruising speed and a very good turn of foot. I really like the horse as he is such a flashy looker.”
Professional darts player, Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor:
“I can’t wait for this race – Kauto Star is a tremendous horse but Denman has Tony McCoy on board now and I think that will prove the difference on the day.”
Former England Rugby Captain, Lawrence Dallaglio:
“For me it is too close to call and it will very much depend on the going. If it’s soft or worse then definitely Denman and if it’s better ground then definitely Kauto Star! If you can find me a weather man that can be that precise this early then I’ll get off the fence!”
Golfing legend, Sam Torrance:
“I think that Kauto Star will win very easily. On Boxing Day he was sheer brilliance in four legged motion and I think Denman, even with the mighty AP on board, will struggle to keep him at bay.”
Former England Rugby Player and current BBC Sports Pundit, Jeremy Guscott:
“It’s the most eagerly awaited race I can remember. I can’t wait to see the two of them coming up the hill at Cheltenham, but it has to be Kauto who’ll win it.”
TV Presenter, Clare Balding:
“It is Denman for me. Big, strong, relentless and brave, I think he can grind the pace up from the front and take the sting out of Kauto Star.”
Former England Rugby Player, Matt Dawson:
“I think Denman this year, as AP McCoy loves a challenge and he is a born winner.”
Top Irish jockey, Johnny Murtagh:
“I think Kauto Star will win as I have always thought Denman is more of a Grand National horse.”
See stage.britishhorseracing.com/cheltenham-festival/ for more details about The Cheltenham Festival 2010.
For more information or imagery, please contact Amy Sherman, Promotions Manager at the British Horseracing Authority, on 020 7152 0115 or 07554 400150 or email her at [email protected].
Notes for Editors:
About The Cheltenham Festival:
The Cheltenham Festival produces an atmosphere that is unique – the combination of the huge crowds, the amazing setting and the sense that you are watching history being made produces a sporting cocktail like no other. During the week, over 200,000 people will experience The Festival in person, many of them travelling significant distances to be here – and across the nation, more than £500 million will be bet on the outcome of the 26 races, culminating in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday 19th March.
For more information and to book tickets visit www.cheltenham.co.uk
About the British Horseracing Authority:
It is the British Horseracing Authority’s role to ensure the continued health and successful development of the sport. As both the Governing and Regulatory body it is the British Horseracing Authority’s responsibility to:
- provide the most compelling and attractive racing in the world;
- be seen as the world leader in raceday regulation;
- ensure the highest standards for the sport and participants, on and away from the racecourse;
- promote the best for the racehorse; and
- represent and promote the sport and the industry
For more information visit: stage.britishhorseracing.com