- Horse Racing
Kauto Star's career comes to an end
Kauto Star, the celebrated winner of two Gold Cups and five King George VIs, has been retired by trainer Paul Nicholls and owner Clive Smith.
The 12-year-old's final race was the Cheltenham Gold Cup seven months ago, in which he was pulled up early on by jockey Ruby Walsh, having looked uncomfortable. He had been considered a doubt for the Cheltenham Festival following a fall in schooling.
"The end of an era has finally arrived," Nicholls said in his Betfair column. "Clive was here this morning [Wednesday] and we have taken the decision to retire Kauto Star.
"We have had nine superb years with the horse but, after seeing him in his work these past few weeks, myself, Clifford [Baker, head lad] and Dan [Skelton, assistant trainer] were of the opinion that the time had arrived to retire him.
"Of course, as owner, the final decision rested with Clive, but he agreed that the horse had done enough.
"Don't get me wrong, Kauto looks and feels as vibrant as ever, as those who saw him at our owners' Open Day last month would testify to. He was mad fresh that day and continues to be as alert as ever and very, very well in himself. But I suspect Kauto will be like that when he is 20 years old.
"And, deep down, we know he has done enough - and in some ways I think we have to protect him from himself. And maybe ourselves, too."
Kauto Star will go down as one of the greatest steeplechasters, winning 23 of his 41 starts and a total of £2,375,883 in prize money.
He was bought by Smith, who was hoping to acquire Garde Champetre only to be outbid, in 2004.