Chasing legend Kauto Star retired

Paul Nicholls announced this morning that Cheltenham Gold Cup winner and five-time King George VI Chase hero Kauto Star had been retired.

The decision was taken after talks with the stable star’s owner Clive Smith and revealed by the Champion trainer on 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.

“We have had nine superb years with the horse but, after seeing him in his work these past few weeks, myself, Clifford and Dan 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. If he did go to Kempton and win or run well, would you really want to run him – or be able to resist the temptation – in the Gold Cup? I am not so sure.”

He added: “Kauto is signing off in full health and after a season in which he proved so many people wrong by winning a fifth King George and a fourth Betfair Chase, to add to his two Cheltenham Gold Cups and Tingle Creeks.

“Ever since he won on his debut for me at Newbury on December 29, 2004, the horse has consistently proved himself a class apart. And a £1m Betfair Million bonus in 2007 and 16 Grade 1 wins later, who would bet against him going to Kempton in December and making it number 17?

“But sometimes, you have to listen to your head and your heart, and both told me that retirement was the only option.”

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