Racing: Nicholls’ sadness over Kauto Star departure

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PAUL Nicholls admitted his “sadness” after Kauto Star’s time at his Ditcheat yard came to an abrupt end yesterday.

The winner of five King Georges and two Cheltenham Gold Cups had been officially retired in late October and was expected to remain at Manor Farm Stables in Somerset until Boxing Day, when he was due to parade at Kempton. Owner Clive Smith had announced on Monday that the 12-year-old would be moving away to be prepared by European bronze medallist eventing rider Laura Collett and long-time Great Britain manager and coach Yogi Breisner for a new career in the world of dressage – a decision not popular with Nicholls and his staff.

The winner of 19 races for the champion trainer, Kauto Star had been with Nicholls for eight years and was invariably ridden by his head lad, Clifford Baker. “It is with great sadness that I have to report that Kauto Star has left the yard for the last time,” Nicholls told his Betfair column. “It has been no secret that Kauto’s future has been a great source of debate since we announced his retirement. I felt the time had finally come for me to take control of the situation, and to start making the decisions.

“Now, I am fully aware that Kauto is Clive’s horse and he can do as he wishes, even though I would personally have loved Clifford to have looked after him for the rest of his years. But what upset me and my team here is when Clive announced that he had spoken to experts about the horse’s future – but failed to consult and listen properly to the team that had looked after him here for the past nine years. That really upset us.”

Nicholls went on: “So we had a team meeting here this morning. And after listening to everybody involved I rang up Clive, said I don’t want to fall out, but we think it is in the best interests of everybody concerned to take Kauto to Yogi Breisner’s this afternoon so that he could start his new career in the dressage field as soon as possible. I would just to like say that it was a privilege for us here at Ditcheat to train the horse. Good luck, old boy. You were the best – and deserve the best.”

Nicholls’ travelling head girl, Donna Blake, tweeted: “Farewell to our dear Kauto Star, sad day that he is leaving those who genuinely care and respect him. Undeserved.”



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