Kauto tops weights

Keith Hamer

Kauto Star's entry in the Hennessy Gold Cup has given a lop-sided look to the big staying handicap chase at Newbury on November 27.

The dual Cheltenham Gold Cup hero, trained by Paul Nicholls, would carry top weight of 11st 12lb should he take his chance, but only two others would run off their correct marks.

Coincidentally they would be two stablemates, Denman (11st 4lb) and Neptune Collonges (10st). Denman has already won the Hennessy twice, in 2007 and 2009, and no horse has ever been successful three times.

Kauto Star made a successful return to action in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal on Saturday and his main objective in the first half of the season is the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, which he has won for the last four years.

"I may have a talk with Paul on the phone in the meantime, but we are certainly meeting up at the weekend. We'll have lots to discuss," said owner Clive Smith.

The David Pipe-trained Madison Du Berlais, who carried 11st 4lb to victory in 2008, has been allotted 9st 7lb.

Last year's runner-up What A Friend (9st 9lb), also from the Nicholls camp and part-owned by Alex Ferguson, is 11/2 second favourite behind 5/1 market leader Denman with William Hill.

Hennessy Gold Cup, William Hill bet: 5/1 Denman, 11/2 What A Friend, 7/1 Diamond Harry, Kauto Star, Weird Al, 8/1 Pandorama, 10/1 Burton Port, 12/1 Carruthers, Duc de Regniere, Neptune Collonges, 14/1 bar.