New start in dressage for Kauto Star

Darlington and Stockton Times: IN FULL FLOW: Kauto Star, one of the greatest racehorses of all time, is embarking on a new life as a dressage horse IN FULL FLOW: Kauto Star, one of the greatest racehorses of all time, is embarking on a new life as a dressage horse

YOGI Breisner admits it is unlikely Kauto Star will develop into an Olympicclass dressage horse following his retirement from racing.

The 12-year-old left the care of trainer Paul Nicholls on Tuesday after owner Clive Smith decided to let his star performer try a new discipline after bowing out of the National Hunt arena.

Smith’s plan was not popular with the Ditcheat team and the trainer asked the owner to remove the horse, with Kauto Star now being cared for by new rider Laura Collett.

The 22-year-old is a decorated event rider at junior levels and aspiring Olympian for 2016, and she will work with the gelding alongside long-time British manager and coach Yogi Breisner.

He admits his top priority is the horse’s welfare and while he has yet to evaluate Kauto Star’s dressage attributes, he believes any talk of an Olympic outing is most premature.

He said: ‘‘As we know he’s had a fantastic racing career, he’s been brilliantly trained and looked after by Mr Nicholls and his staff at Ditcheat and so this is just a matter of getting to see if he will settle into a different type of routine in life.

‘‘If he does that comfortably, then maybe there’s an alternative thing he can do, but we don’t know that until we have started to work with him.

‘‘Number one is how to look after the horse’s best interests, his welfare and care and give him what he deserves in life after a magnificent racing career.

‘‘If a horse is going to reach Olympic level, they really need to start their education when they are young, sort of four or fiveyear-olds,’’ he said.

‘‘So it would be a tremendous exception if a horse could come out of retirement from racing and then go into an alternative career that was going to lead to Olympic level, never mind a medal, in any of the three disciplines.’’ Collett herself had a first taste of riding Kauto Star this morning and she thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

She tweeted: ‘‘I am officially the LUCKIEST girl in the world right now.... I have just ridden Kauto Star...

‘‘He is a truly amazing horse... Felt like a fresh 4yo which is all credit to PFNicholls and his team. I am honoured.’’ PHILIP Hobbs has confirmed his classy novice chaser Fingal Bay will miss the rest of the season after suffering a tendon injury.

The Grade One-winning hurdler made a perfect start to his career over fences at Chepstow in October and ran a fine race to chase home Dynaste at Cheltenham a month later.

But having been sent off a 1-12 favourite at Exeter to regain the winning thread at Exeter last week, Fingal Bay jumped violently left for much of the journey before eventually running out at the third last, after which the injury was discovered.

‘‘He has unfortunately sustained a minor tendon injury so he’s going to miss the season,’’ Hobbs admitted.

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