Kauto Star has featured on the *header photo of this blog for a long while now, along with his regular rider Ruby Walsh. It therefore seems right to note that today was the day he left his longtime home of Ditcheat, with trainer Paul Nicholls and the man who has ‘done’ the Star for all these years, Clifford Baker.
The Twittersphere is all aflutter with the news: the manner in which the departure came about, the new career for the amazing horse we have loved for so long. It seems that the owner, Clive Smith and the trainer had some sort of difference of opinion and the planned departure to pastures new was brought forward to today. Apparently Clifford Baker’s daughter didn’t even get to say goodbye to King Kauto.
I suppose it’s a mini PR disaster for racing. Kauto Star has been the jewel in the crown of winter National Hunt racing for years. That the owner and the trainer should ‘fall out’ over the rest of his career is a shame. That career is nominally in dressage. They aren’t mucking around either, Kauto is going to be ridden by an Olympic hopeful rider and retrained by the great Yogi Breisner. Clive Smith says Kauto is ‘too good’ to be a hack, but what an earth does that mean? I would have been more on his wavelength if he said, ‘look the horse is only twelve and he needs to be kept busy – he’s that kind of horse.’ To me, it looks like an old guy giving a pretty young lady a lovely present, but I am old and unkind perhaps. Back on a more empirical footing, good dressage horses tend to be warmbloods, not thoroughbreds, the latter being too hot-blooded for the manege. I admit I am kind of hoping Kauto Star puts them all in their place, politely, over the next few months.
Running and jumping is the the boy for me he might say, if he could talk… Now, where’s my old neighbour Denman?
Click here for more of Denman’s Diary and a life after racing.
And here to see Kauto Star in his new home as of today. Good luck lad.
*I’ve been wondering if it’s time to change this for a while now, but I don’t think I’m ready yet.