Kauto Star is widely considered one of the greatest steeplechasers of all time, having won 16 Grade One races, including two Cheltenham Gold Cups. He also holds the record for most wins in the King George VI Chase, with five victories from 2006 to 2011. But how did this beloved champion die?
Who Trained Kauto Star?
Serge Foucher initially trained Kauto Star in France. He enjoyed four wins out of nine attempts over hurdles. Bloodstock agent Anthony Bromley bought him for €400,000 to race in Britain under trainer Paul Nicholls.
Kauto Star raced three times in his first full season (2005/6). Early in his career, Kauto Star faced Gold Cup legend Best Mate in the William Hill Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter Racecourse. Tragically, Best Mate suffered a suspected heart attack during the race and died. The British press lamented the death of the great horse and asked Who can fill the void left by Best Mate?
The answer would soon become apparent. As Kauto Star began to mature, he quickly became the horse of a generation.
With his unmistakable white blaze, Kauto Star amassed an unbelievable £3,775,883 during the course of his career – an incredible amount! He also became the fourth highest-rated chaser in the history of Timeform, behind only Arkle, Flyingbolt, and Sprinter Sacre.
Who Owned Kauto Star?
The owner of Kauto Star was Clive Smith, a successful businessman who made his money by providing pay-as-you-play golf courses. Before purchasing Kauto Star, he had dabbled in racehorse ownership with trainer Jenny Pitman.
When Kauto Star was purchased in June of 2004, there were high hopes that he could become an exceptional horse – and it didn’t take long for those expectations to be fulfilled.
Clive Smith recalled, in an interview, “He was ridden on the gallops at Paul Nicholls’ yard by Clifford Baker, the head lad, who knows horses inside-out, as does Paul Nicholls. Between them, they could see that he had great potential. He eventually raced for the first time with me as owner on the 29th December 2004 at Newbury, in a two mile race and he actually stormed in and I think everybody knew then there was a potential star in the making and that’s how it started.”
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Who Rode Kauto Star?
Kauto Star was ridden by a number of jockeys throughout his career. However, it was Irish jockey Ruby Walsh who partnered him on some of his greatest days, including his first and second Cheltenham Gold Cup wins. He was also the jockey for Kauto Star’s record-breaking five King George VI Chases wins.
How Did Kauto Star Die?
Kauto Star retired from racing in November 2012, having just failed to win a third Cheltenham Gold Cup. He was doing well at the beginning of the race, but he made a bad jump at the eighth fence, and Ruby Walsh pulled him up before he got to the tenth, much to the relief of the watching crowd.
Retirement and lazy days in the long grass were the life for Kauto Star following his dazzling career. Unfortunately, on June 24th, 2015, Kauto Star suffered a severe fall in his paddock. Despite the best medical care from Valley Equine Hospital over the weekend, it was not enough to overcome these injuries, and he was humanely euthanized at 3 pm on Monday, 29th of June.
Veterinary assistant Hattie Lawrence reported that three bones appear to have been fractured… There also appears to have been a fracture to the spine at the base of the neck… The injury produced paralysis that made it impossible for him to stand.
Mystery surrounded the freak accident that felled the horse, with various theories springing up on social media. However, these were never proven, and the cause of his fall remains a mystery.
Kauto Star’s legacy will remain alive in the hearts and minds of racing fans around the world. The star that burns twice as bright burns half as long.
Where is Kauto star buried?
A fitting tribute to horse racing icon Kauto Star, the grounds of Kempton Park will serve as his final resting place, with his ashes laid beneath his statue in the Parade Ring.