Kauto honoured at Haydock

  • Last Updated: November 24 2012, 15:52 GMT

A statue was unveiled at Haydock racecourse on Saturday morning in honour of Kauto Star.

Kauto Star admires his own statue
Kauto Star admires his own statue

The Paul Nicholls-trained chaser retired on October 31 after an astounding career at the highest level.

Kauto Star won the King George VI Chase at Kempton a record five occasions and the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice.

He was also successful in Haydock's Betfair Chase four times, including when he came back from the brink of retirement last season to inflict an eight-length defeat upon Long Run.

The half-life size statue of Kauto Star was created by sculptor Will Newton, who is based in Somerset, close to Nicholls' Ditcheat yard.

Nicholls and Kauto Star's owner, Clive Smith, were in attendance at the unveiling ceremony - alongside the horse himself.

"He's in as good a shape as ever," said Nicholls.

"We're very happy we retired him at the top when he was in such good shape. It was a hard decision (to retire him) but it was the right decision. He needs to be doing something active, but we've got to have discussions with Clive to see what we do from Christmas onwards.

"He needs to be kept safe and he needs a good rider on him. We've got to make the right plan for the horse."

Smith said connections have investigated the possibility of Kauto Star embarking upon a dressage career.

He told the Morning Line: "He's been outstanding for us. I'd always had the greatest hope he'd turn out to be really good.

"The peak of his career is winning a Gold Cup, but you can never quite take away the emotion when he won here a year ago.

"It (Haydock's statue) is a great honour for the horse. I'm very pleased it has happened - I'm very proud.

"We're looking at the possibility of dressage. He's a very intelligent horse and he's very athletic."

Kauto Star was later partnered by head lad Clifford Baker and wildly cheered round the paddock before leading the runners in the parade for the Betfair Chase.

Smith said: "It's quite emotional, it really he is. He looks fantastic, doesn't he.

"Clifford is the man who has ridden him every day, and it's lovely to see him right there and the horse enjoying himself, kicking and bucking again like he always has done."

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