Clive Smith has been a horse racing fan since the 1960’s and was lucky enough to be at Kempton when legendary Arkle won his last race, his name is now synonymous with outstanding champion chasers, Kauto Star and Master Minded.
The self made business man acquired his personal fortune from building golf courses. Smith spotted a gap in the market for good quality public courses and after selling his house, car and some shares plus taking a bank loan, opened his first pay-and-play course in Surrey in 1978, he never looked back and has designed and built many pay-and-play facilities.
A keen big game fisherman, but one who has said he has no interest in boats, he bought racehorses instead. He has been an owner for more than 20 years with trainers including Jenny Pitman and Martin Pipe and currently with Paul Nicholls. Smith admits to having a weakness for Lagonda cars and has sponsored the Lagonda trophy for young golfers which has been won by the likes of Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.
Smith’s well respected colours of purple, green and yellow came to the public’s notice in 2005 when his horse Royal Auclair was runner up in the Grand National. However his dream was to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup which he had first attended in 1974.
In 2004 after being outbid for another horse, Smith purchased French bred Kauto Star for €400,000, little knowing how many times the investment would be repaid. He had bought a superstar and Kauto Star won the Gold Cup in 2007 and again in 2009, his owner confessing after the first win, he slept with the trophy on his bedside table!.
Kauto Star won four consecutive King George V1 Chases between 2006/2009 and in December 2011 won again to become the only horse to have won the race five times. In doing so, he beat the great Desert Orchid’s four wins, to confirm his standing as one of the greatest racehorses of all time and be assured of his place in racing history.
Amongst a small string, Smith also owns Master Minded about whom trainer Paul Nicholls has said “He’s the best I’ve trained, and probably the best I’ll ever train”. There could be no higher praise when your stable mates are Denman and Kauto Star.
In 2008 he became the youngest horse at five years old to ever win the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham, he finished the season as the Highest Rated Chaser in the World.
Owning two of the top rated horses in the world has made Smith one of the most recognised and successful owners of the age, he has won the BHA Order of Merit twice with Kauto Star.