Kauto Star (right): won five King George VI Chases at KemptonPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Racing pays tribute to retiring legend Star
RACING has paid tribute to Kauto Star after the record-breaking chaser was retired on Wednesday after the most fantastic of careers.
Trainer Paul Nicholls and owner Clive Smith took the decision to stop racing the five-time King George VI Chase winner and allow the superstar to enjoy retirement after discussions during the summer.
The 12-year-old was partnered in many of his races by Ruby Walsh, who described him as "just a wonderful, wonderful horse".
He added: "He is the type of horse that comes around only once in a lifetime, if even that. Whether a test of speed or a test of stamina was needed he was always able to produce it on any given day."
Kauto Star's finest moments arguably came at Kempton with his five King George wins a record as were his four successive wins from 2006-2009.
Ralph Topping, chief executive of William Hill, who have sponsored the Christmas highlight since 2009, said: "His racing escapades, which spanned so many seasons, engaged fans of all ages and all walks of life. He has been one of National Hunt Racing's greatest ambassadors.''
Kauto Star: best since ArklePICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Kauto Star's clashes with stablemate Denman helped generate huge publicity for racing and trainer David Pipe was quick to recognise the horse's achievements.
"A great decision to retire Kauto Star," Pipe wrote on Twitter. "What a wonderful horse he has been for his owner, Team Ditcheat and for all racing."
Much debate during Kauto Star's career focused upon where he stood in relation to the mighty Arkle - the highest rated chaser in jumps history.
However, former Cheltenham chief executive Edward Gillespie was happy to say that the dual Gold Cup winner was the best seen since the 1960s.
He said: "He is unquestionably the best horse to have raced at Cheltenham since Arkle won his last Gold Cup in 1966.
"You couldn't take your eye off him when he ran. People were cheering and gasping from first to last."