The legendary chaser Kauto Star was put down on Monday, June 29 2015, after sustaining a complex fracture to the left side of his pelvis as the result of a fall in the paddock.
One of the greatest ever chasers, dual Tingle Creek Chase winner, and 16 Grade 1 wins
Kauto Star Embarks On New Career 12/12/12
Kauto Star, the retired National Hunt superstar, who won five King Georges and two Cheltenham Gold Cups, was required to make an early departure from his stable in Somerset after a difference of opinions between trainer Paul Nicholls and owner Clive Smith.
While Nicholls hoped Kauto Star could remain with the staff at Manor Farm Stables in Ditcheat, Smith felt Kauto Star should try a new discipline and asked Laura Collett, a decorated event rider at junior levels and aspiring Olympian for 2016, to work with the gelding along with long-time British manager and coach Yogi Breisner.
Collett has enjoyed her first experience of riding him as she prepares to assess his suitability for a potential dressage career.
The 22-year-old Collett received Kauto Star on Tuesday afternoon and tweeted on Wednesday morning: "I am officially the LUCKIEST girl in the world right now.... I have just ridden Kauto Star... He is a truly amazing horse... Felt like a fresh 4yo which is all credit to @PFNicholls and his team. I am honoured."
Breisner, who is often used by trainers to get to the bottom of problem racehorses, coaches Collett on a very regular basis. He was put in touch with Smith by Di Arbuthnot, chief executive of the Retraining of Racehorses charity, which is affiliated with the British Horseracing Authority.
Breisner was asked by Sky Sports News Radio about Kauto Star's attributes for potential success in the dressage arena.
He said: "This is up for us to assess at the moment. As we know he's had a fantastic racing career, he's been brilliantly trained and looked after by Mr Nicholls and his staff at Ditcheat and so this is just a matter of getting to see if he will settle into a different type of routine in life.
"If he does that comfortably, then maybe there's an alternative thing he can do, but we don't know that until we have started to work with him. Number one is how to look after the horse's best interests, his welfare and care and give him what he deserves in life after a magnificent racing career."
Breisner explained a little about what Kauto Star would be doing with Collett and himself, adding: "It's not a matter of putting him through anything at all really, it's just ride him away and see a little bit where we are with him and how he takes to a different routine. As a racehorse they go out in a string and they are worked very much to get them fit, etcetera and that routine will be slightly changed in that he would be doing work in an arena, and gentle exercises in that sort of way, and then we will see a little bit how we go after that."
Breisner did, however, scotch any suggestion Kauto Star could go on from winning a Cheltenham Gold Cup to an Olympic dressage medal, saying: "If a horse is going to reach Olympic level, they really need to start their education when they are young, sort of four or five-year-olds. So it would be a tremendous exception if a horse could come out of retirement from racing and then go into an alternative career that was going to lead to Olympic level, never mind a medal, in any of the three disciplines."
Kauto Star Retires After Illustrious Career 31/10/12
Paul Nicholls has confirmed that the superstar gelding Kauto Star has run his final race.
The 12-year-old was last seen being pulled up in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham in March, having suffered a fall in training in the lead-up to the blue riband.
Trainer Paul Nicholls and owner Clive Smith have taken their time to make a final decision over whether the 12-year-old should race on, but they have finally decided to call time on a fabulous career.
Speaking in his Betfair column, Nicholls said: "The end of an era has finally arrived. Clive was here this morning and we have taken the decision to retire Kauto Star."
Nicholls rates Kauto Star's victory in the Betfair Chase last year as one of the most emotional he has ever experienced in the sport.
The brilliant 12-year-old, who has run his last race after a fantastic career that took in two Cheltenham Gold Cups and five King George VI Chases, put in a brilliant performance at Haydock on his return to action after being pulled up at Punchestown, prompting calls for his retirement.
"He has given me my best days in the sport and, even though the Gold Cups and King Georges are the pinnacles for any staying chaser, with his 2009 Kempton win breathtakingly impressive, the raw emotion that followed his Haydock win last November will live longest in my memory," said the trainer.
"I had to hold myself together to stop myself being in floods of tears that day, and I just about managed it.
"Kauto is a public horse now, every bit as much as Desert Orchid, and to us here at Ditcheat that had to be a factor in the decision to retire.
"And while it would have been brilliant to go out on a winning high - remember Dessie's last race was a fall at Kempton - I don't think anyone present at Cheltenham last March would view Kauto's final appearance on a racetrack as a failure.
"The spontaneous applause he got from the crowd when he was pulled up genuinely lifted the spirits of all the team here - and it is the team here, from Clifford (Baker, head lad) down, and Clive (Smith, owner), that made Kauto what he became - at what was a low moment.
"Disappointment was immediately replaced by pride, and that is the overwhelming emotion I feel when looking at the horse."
He continued in his Betfair column: "Ever since then, Clive and I have discussed retirement. Now the decision has been made it will be very strange to look out of my office window and not see Kauto's head and Denman's arse sticking out of the main two boxes - or indeed Master Minded, for that matter.
"Whatever the future holds, I am certain that Clive and all us here at Ditcheat will reflect on a magnificent past and I am sure we will both go on searching for the unattainable in the future. Namely, a horse to replace the irreplaceable legend that was, and is, Kauto Star."
Up until 2009, no horse had ever regained the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Sam Thomas, who won the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup aboard Denman, partnered Kauto Star to glory in the 2007 Betfair Chase at Haydock.
He said: "I was lucky enough to ride him and win on him and he has been a very special horse. He did an enormous amount to raise the profile of National Hunt racing and I think enormous credit has to go to Paul Nicholls for producing him to win all those big races on the big days.
"It's a shame we won't see him run again, but at least he will be able to enjoy his retirement with his old friend Denman. I think Kauto's record will struggle to be beaten in my generation and now he's retired, along with Denman, it's the end of an era.
"The battles between the two of them were a big part of my career and part of my life that I'll never forget. Kauto was a wonder horse and we might not see the likes of him and Denman again."
Ruby Walsh described Kauto Star as "incredible" after the announcement that the 12-year-old has run his last race in an illustrious career.
Walsh partnered the French import to 17 victories, including both his Cheltenham Gold Cup triumphs and his five wins in the King George VI Chase.
"He's the horse of my lifetime. I'm very lucky to be the one who got to ride him. He was an incredible horse from the beginning, from when he won his novice chase in Newbury all the way to his fifth King George," said Walsh.
"He's got me to places I didn't think I'd ever be. He was just an incredible horse. A couple of Gold Cups, Betfair Chases, five King Georges, Tingle Creeks - he did everything. He was an amazing horse to ride and an amazing horse to be part of and I loved every minute of riding him.
Tony McCoy partnered Kauto Star just once, but said: "He's the best horse that I've seen. He's been unbelievably well handled by Paul Nicholls. It's great he's going out in one piece - he was an exceptional chaser."
KAUTO STAR (FR)
10 b g Village Star (FR) Kauto Relka (FR) (Port Etienne (FR))
Owner: Clive Smith Breeder: Mme H Aubert
KAUTO STAR, a Grade Three winner over hurdles at Auteuil when trained in France, Kauto Star has developed into one of the greatest chasers the sport has ever known since arriving at Paul Nicholls' stables in 2004. His six straight wins in the 2006/2007 season included a stunning Grade One four timer that culminated in an impressive totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup victory. Last season he became the first horse ever to regain the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup and this term he enjoyed another slice of history as the first to win four consecutive renewals of the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day at Kempton Park. He made his British debut at Newbury, in December, 2004, with an emphatic victory over Grade One Irish Champion Hurdle winner Foreman in a novice chase. On his next start, at Exeter in January, 2005, he fell two out with the race at his mercy. After being remounted, he just failed to reel in the winner, but it came to light afterwards that the horse had injured his near hind leg and he was forced to miss the rest of the season. Kauto Star reappeared in November, 2005, turning in a fine comeback effort to chase home Monkerhostin in the Grade Two William Hill Gold Cup Chase at Exeter. He improved on that run to win the Grade One Tingle Creek Trophy Chase over two miles at Sandown the following month. The Grade One Queen Mother Champion Chase at The Festival in March was Kauto Star's next port of call but, after tracking the leaders in the early stages, he took off too early at the third fence and hit the deck. He returned to action in the 2006/2007 season at Aintree in October, 2006, over two and a half miles in the Grade Two Old Roan Chase and romped home by 21 lengths. A month later, he defeated the best three mile chasers around when easily taking the Betfair Chase at Haydock by 17 lengths, before showing himself to be one of the most adaptable top class chasers of recent times when cruising to a second victory in the Grade One Tingle Creek Chase over two miles at Sandown a fortnight later. Clive Smith's gelding evoked memories of Desert Orchid as he went directly from that triumph to capture the 2006 King George VI Chase over three miles at Kempton on Boxing Day. Ruby Walsh sat tight to survive a last fence blunder and the pair finished eight lengths clear of the chasing Exotic Dancer. Another final fence error made life more difficult again for the pair in the Grade Two Aon Chase at Newbury, but he rallied to hold the determined challenge of L'Ami by a neck. A hot favourite for the 2007 totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup, he did not disappoint. Ruby Walsh struck the front two fences out and, despite hitting the last hard, Kauto Star stormed up the hill to prevail comfortably from Exotic Dancer. Kauto Star thus collected the Betfair Million bonus by winning the Betfair Chase at Haydock, the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park and the totesport Gold Cup at Cheltenham. The 2007/08 campaign also began with the Old Roan Chase at Aintree, but the champion found conceding a stone to the talented Monet's Garden just a length and a half beyond him. He improved for the run to land the 2007 Betfair Chase for a second year running by half a length from Exotic Dancer and went on to win the King George VI Chase again, scoring by 11 lengths from Our Vic. He dropped back to two miles, five and a half furlongs in the Commercial First Chase at Ascot in February but that proved no problem and he won by eight lengths from Monet's Garden. The chance of winning a second Betfair Million bonus was lost in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup in March when his stable companion Denman proved seven lengths too strong. Kauto Star's jumping was not as fluent as usual and that theme continued at Aintree the following month when a bad mistake two out cost him victory by a nose in the totesport Bowl which was won by Our Vic. Kauto Star had a long break and reappeared in the Grade One Jnwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal in Northern Ireland on November 1, 2008, when he won unchallenged. He then unseated Sam Thomas at the last fence in the Betfair Chase at Haydock 17 days later. Normal service was resumed at Kempton on Boxing Day, when he won his third King George VI Chase by 10 lengths from Albertas Run. He was rested before returning to Cheltenham and an historic second victory in the 2009 totesport Gold Cup, beating Denman by 13 lengths in tremendous style. As in the past, Kauto Star was a little rusty for his reappearance this season. That came in the Betfair Chase but the champion was still able to win, albeit by only a nose, from Imperial Commander - his third success in the race. He then added a fourth King George VI Chase with as stunning a performance as one could wish to see. Kauto Star jumped exquisitely and drew clear down the finishing straight for a 36-length romp. Kauto Star had his 10th birthday on March 19 - totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup day - and is aiming to become the fifth horse to win the chasing's championship race three times.
Race Record - Starts: 33; 1st: 20; 2nd: 7; 3rd: 2; Win & Place Prize Money: £2,012,654
Clive Smith is a true jumping enthusiast who first went to Cheltenham in 1974 and has made a significant investment in his string of horses in recent years. A former Surrey golf captain, he was busy building golf courses, including Windlemere, Hawthorn Hill (now Birds Hill) and Pine Ridge, when first breaking into racehorse ownership in 1987 with Hawthorn Hill Lad, trained by Jenny Pitman. The owner then had a brief spell with David Elsworth before having horses with Martin Pipe for 12 years, but took the decision to switch his string to another Somerset-based handler, Paul Nicholls, in the summer of 2003. Jump racing's newest superstar, Kauto Star, bought for 400,000 euros, is owned by Smith while the 2005 John Smith's Grand National runner-up, Royal Auclair, also sports his colours. Another Smith star is the brilliant chaser Master Minded, winner of the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2008 and 2009. He bid up to 500,000gns at Doncaster Sales in May, 2004, for the record-priced Garde Champetre, but the gelding was eventually knocked down to J P McManus for 530,000gns. Kauto Star has confirmed himself one of the most exciting and talented chasers in the sport's history, with a track record that includes three Betfair Chase triumphs, four King George VI Chase victories and two successes in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup (2007 & 2009). The gelding landed his owner the £1 million Betfair Million bonus after his 2007 totesport Gold Cup success. Smith is also believed to have collected around £100,000 in winning bets after his charge's 2007 Cheltenham victory, while Kauto Star also topped the Order Of Merit that year - designed to reward horseracing excellence and participation - netting his connections a further £200,000 in total. A former executive with Ford and Chrysler who lives at Wentworth in Surrey, Smith is well known in the golfing world as the founder of the Lagonda Trophy, which attracts an international field of top amateurs, has been won by Lee Westwood and Luke Donald and is in its 34th year. He is also a vintage car enthusiast. He owns a 1928 and a 1930 Lagonda.
totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup victories: 2007 KAUTO STAR, 2009 KAUTO STAR
Paul Nicholls, the son of a policeman, was born on April 17, 1962, and has been training at Manor Farm Stables in Ditcheat, Somerset, since taking out a licence on November 1, 1991. He started out in racing as a jump jockey and twice rode the winner of the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury - in 1986 on Broadheath and a year later on Playschool, both sent out by Devon trainer David Barons. Nicholls partnered 130 winners between 1980 and 1989, struggling always to keep his weight down, and nominates the best horses he rode as Broadheath, Playschool and Seagram. Between 1989 and 1991, he was assistant trainer to Barons, who sent out Seagram to win the 1991 Grand National at Aintree during that time. He started out at Paul Barber's Manor Farm with eight horses. Having strongly challenged Martin Pipe for the jump trainers' championship over a number of years, most notably when pushing his great rival right to the last day of the 2004/05 campaign, Nicholls claimed his first title the following season, being responsible for 148 winners and gaining over £2.4 million in prize money. He retained the title the next season with 124 successes and nearly £2,950,000 in prize money. The hugely talented Kauto Star was the stable's flag bearer, with victories in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree, the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park, Sandown's Tingle Creek Chase, the King George VI Chase at Kempton, Newbury's AON Chase and the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup. Kauto Star thus became the first horse to land the Betfair Million, the huge bonus put by the leading betting exchange for success in the Betfair Chase, King George VI Chase and totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup. In the 2007/08 season, Kauto Star was runner-up in the Gold Cup but Nicholls also trained his conqueror, the mighty Denman, and ended up champion trainer again with 151 winners and over £3.6 million in prize money. In the 2008/09 season, Nicholls was champion again with his best tally yet of 155 winners and just under £3.5million in prize money. That season, Kauto Star landed a third King George VI Chase and became the first horse to reclaim the Gold Cup when defeating Denman by 13 lengths. Nicholls pulled off the amazing feat of saddling seven winners and three seconds from his 10 runners on Saturday, November 7, 1998, and made history when he became the first trainer to saddle six winners on the same card, at Wincanton, his local track, on Saturday, January 21, 2006. Another high point in his training career came at the 1999 Cheltenham Festival when he captured the major chase on each of the three days Flagship Uberalles scored in The Irish Independent Arkle Chase, Call Equiname in the Queen Mother Champion Chase the following day and, best of all, See More Business took the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup. Nicholls has trained 25 Cheltenham Festival winners in total, and was the most successful trainer at The Festival in 1999, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2009, as well as Kauto Star's triumph, he saddled Master Minded to a second win in the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase, while Big Buck's captured the staying hurdlers' crown when wining the Ladbrokes World Hurdle. Other highlights at The Festival so far include Azertyuiop's victories in The Irish Independent Arkle Trophy and the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase, Paul is currently the second most successful current trainer at The Festival behind Nicky Henderson and is sixth on the all-time list. He is the most successful current handler in totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup with four victories and if he were to land the 2010 renewal, he would join the late Tom Dreaper, trainer of the legendary Arkle, as the race's winning most handler. His feat in 2009 of saddling the winners of the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase, the Ladbrokes World Hurdle and the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup had only been achieved once before (by Jim Dreaper in 1975). His 1,000th British winner came when Noble Action won at Folkestone on November 15, 2004. This season he has saddled Denman to land a second Hennessy Gold Cup under top-weight, while Kauto Star became the first horse to win the King George VI Chase for a fourth consecutive year.
totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup victories: 1999 SEE MORE BUSINESS, 2007 KAUTO STAR, 2008 DENMAN, 2009 KAUTO STAR
Ruby Walsh is associated with the powerful stables of Paul Nicholls in Britain and Willie Mullins in Ireland. Born May 14, 1979, and based in Co. Kildare, Ireland, he is the son of 11-times Irish amateur champion jockey, Ted Walsh, now a trainer and television pundit. Ruby is the second of Walsh's four children and his younger sister Katie is a successful amateur. He secured his first success under Rules aboard Siren Song at Gowran Park on July 25, 1995, and followed in his father's footsteps when capturing the Irish amateur riders' championship at the age of 19 while still studying for his Leaving Certificate. He was crowned champion Irish National Hunt jockey in his first season as a professional (1998/99) and has taken the title a further six times (2000/2001, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08 and 2008/09). Walsh has won the John Smith's Grand National twice on Papillon (2000) and Hedgehunter (2005). He was leading rider at the Cheltenham Festival for a fourth time (he also took the accolade in 2004, 2006 and 2008) last season with a record seven wins, including three in a row on the second day aboard Mikel D'Haguenet in the Neptune Investment Management Services Novices' Hurdle, Cooldine in the RSA Chase and Master Minded in the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase. His other wins came aboard Que Vega (David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle), American Trilogy (Vincent O'Brien County Hurdle), Big Buck's (Ladbrokes World Hurdle) and Kauto Star (totesport Gold Cup). His total of 24 wins at The Festival is just one behind the record achieved by Pat Taaffe. Through his associations with Nicholls and Mullins, he has partnered many of the best jumpers of recent years including 2007 and 2009 Gold Cup winner Kauto Star, on whom he has also won four King George VI Chases and two Betfair Chases.