StanJames.com spokesman Rory Jiwani says, “This is obviously bad news for the Festival with the nation’s favourite racehorse possibly ruled out after enjoying a renaissance in the twilight of his career. We’ve pushed him out from 3/1 to 4/1 and there has been money for plenty of the other protagonists since Paul Nicholls’ announcement.
“We initially trimmed Long Run from 2/1 to 15/8 but the punters piled in and we’ve had to cut to 6/4. We cut stablemate Burton Port from 10/1 to 8/1 but that was quickly snapped up and we now go 13/2 about Nicky Henderson’s former RSA Chase runner-up.
“Grands Crus is the really interesting horse in all of this as Kauto Star’s absence would almost certainly persuade connections to opt for the Gold Cup over the RSA Chase. David Pipe’s grey was initially cut from 10/1 to 8/1 but a flurry of bets led us to cut him further to 6/1 third favourite. Grands Crus remains the 7/4 favourite for the RSA Chase but we’ve seen money for second favourite Bobs Worth who is now 7/2 from 4/1.
“Back to the Gold Cup and one horse which has been exceptionally well backed today is Weird Al. We’ve cut Donald McCain’s nine-year-old from 20/1 to 14/1.”
Cheltenham Gold Cup antepost betting (EW 1/4 1,2,3): 6/4 Long Run 4 Kauto Star 6 Grands Crus 13/2 Burton Port 9 Synchronised 10 Midnight Chase 12 Quel Esprit 14 Weird Al 33 What A Friend, Medermit 40 bar
RSA Chase antepost betting (EW 1/4 1,2,3): 7/4 Grands Crus 7/2 Bobs Worth 11/2 First Lieutenant 8 Join Together, Invictus 11 Sir Des Champs 16 Bog Warrior 25 Call The Police, Lambro 33 bar