"Even-stevens" is the phrase that easily sums up the thoughts of many punters towards this year's Cheltenham Gold Cup but it seems that Champion trainer Paul Nicholls thinks the same.
Nicholls believes the race will be too close to call when Kauto Star and Long Run battle against each other in the Betfred Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Friday March 16.
Twelve-year-old Kauto Star has been brought back to his highest form this season, which he proved in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day by beating Long Run.
Yet Nicholls has not underestimated the task that faces both horse and himself next month. He told the Racing UK podcast: "If Kauto was four years younger, then he would be favourite, but I suppose people think Long Run will be better suited to Cheltenham and he is the champion after all.
"Without a doubt, Kauto is better than last season, and it is difficult to know whether Long Run has improved since last year, so it should bring them closer together.
"Last year, he wasn't quite finishing, but if we can get him a bit fitter, he should finish better up the hill.
"He's cantered pretty much every day since the King George; we haven't been too hard on him but now's the time to up a gear."
So, is Nicholls really saying that it is "even-stevens" between Kauto Star and Long Run? Don't forget, Ruby Walsh said something similar at the King George VI and look what happened - he won by a clear mile!
I think that the yard play down Kauto's ability for the punters. Kauto Star is a superb horse and one that is still improving. So maybe, just maybe he could produce another spectacular performance and prove those against him wrong again.