Having announced that the magnificent Kauto Star was going to be retired, I can only imagine that Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls has been absolutely inundated with requests for interviews, photocalls and visits to Ditcheat.
Kauto Star, who made jumping history by winning a fifth King George VI Chase at Kempton last December, broke hearts when he was pulled up on his last outing in March when he was chasing a third Cheltenham Gold Cup victory and many, myself included, genuinely thought it was time to give the ole boy a rest and a well deserved break in the pasture.
And despite Kauto being in very good form, Nicholls eventually decided upon the same thing saying “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
“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.
“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.”
Kauto Star retires after outstripping the great Desert Orchid, four times a winner of the jump season's winter highlight, with his King George win on Boxing Day – one of 16 Grade One wins since a triumphant debut at Newbury in 2004.
And for icing on the cake his brilliant career will be honoured at the Open meeting at Cheltenham tomorrow where the two-time Gold Cup winner will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at Prestbury Park before racing starts.
Kauto Star’s name will be joined on the honours board by champion jockeys AP McCoy and Ruby Walsh, trainer Nicky Henderson and three-time Champion Hurdle winner Istabraq.
He is also parading at Haydock Park on Saturday November 24, Betfair Chase Day, when a statue will also be unveiled in his honour!
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