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Nicholls criticial of Smith for Kauto switch

ESPN staff
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Kauto Star won the Gold Cup on two occasions © Getty Images
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Paul Nicholls has spoken of his sadness and upset that Kauto Star has left his care.

Clive Smith, owner of the two-time Gold Cup winner, revealed that Kauto Star had been sent to Laura Collett to train as a potential eventer.

The move has caused widespread debate, with many feeling the 12-year-old should have been allowed to see out his days in the care of Nicholls' assistant Clifford Baker.

Nicholls has now broken his silence on the subject and has criticised Smith for failing to consult him and his team about Kauto Star's career change.

"It is with great sadness that I have to report that Kauto Star has left the yard for the last time," Nicholls wrote in his column on Betfair. "It has been no secret that Kauto's future has been a great source of debate since we announced his retirement.

"And, to be brutally honest, this morning I felt the time had finally come for me to take control of the situation, and to start making the decisions.

"Now, I am fully aware that Kauto is Clive's horse and he can do as he wishes, even though I would personally have loved Clifford to have looked after him for the rest of his years.

"But what upset me and my team here is when Clive announced that he had spoken to experts about the horse's future - but failed to consult and listen properly to the team that had looked after him here for the past nine years.

"That really upset us.

"So we had a team meeting here this morning. And after listening to everybody involved - there were about six of us in the meeting - I rang up Clive, said I don't want to fall out, but we think it is in the best interests of everybody concerned to take Kauto to Yogi Breisner's this afternoon so that he could start his new career in the eventing field as soon as possible.

"Which we did with the saddest of hearts. But I like to think with a lot of dignity, too. And, yes, there were plenty of tears too. He was a member of the family here at Ditcheat, and we will all miss him so much."

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