Trainer Paul Nicholls has explained his silence since the Gold Cup on Friday, revealing in his recent Betfair column that his one-year-old daughter was taken ill on Saturday (17 March).

“Zara was taken into hospital on Saturday morning, and was released home later that evening,” he said.

“But on Sunday morning we had to get the ambulance out again, as she took a turn for the worse, and it was touch-and-go for a while. We were worried, I can tell you,” he said.

“Thankfully, she seems a bit better today but she will be in hospital for a while yet, and I have been to and from Yeovil hospital these past few days. We don’t know exactly what the problem is, but it seems that she has picked up a very nasty virus.”

Nicholls was also quick to dismiss any rumours of Kauto Star’s retirement – after the 12-year-old pulled up during Friday’s (16 March) Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Kauto’s participation had been unsure in the run up to the race, due to a heavy fall in training a fortnight before.

We just ran out of time with him. But Kauto is 100%, and we will canter him away and rough him off for the summer and see where we stand when he comes back in,” he said.

“But any talk of retirement is very premature. Clive [Smith, Kauto’s owner] and I haven’t even discussed it, and I dare say we won’t in any great detail until Kauto comes back in, in July.

“This season told everyone not to be so hasty in writing him off.”