Kauto Star was a champion National Hunt racehorse, trained by Paul Nicholls.
Known initially for his great versatility, Kauto Star was the only ever horse to be rated top at two miles, two and a half miles and three miles all in the same season.
He became famous for his rivalry with a stablemate, Denman, both battling for Cheltenham Gold Cup success.
Having won it already in 2007, his ‘pal’ Denman beat him in 2008 only for Kauto to become the first ever horse to regain the Gold Cup when winning it in 2009.
Kauto Star’s Pedigree
Foaled on March 19th, 2000, Kauto Star was bred in France by Henri Aubert.
He did have somewhat of a Flat breeding but one that featured plenty of stamina. His sire, Village Star, won the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.
The family was a strong one overall. Kauto Star was a half-brother to Kauto Stone, runner-up in the Tingle Creek at the Cheltenham Festival in 2011.
|Sire/Dam||Grand Sire/Dam||Great Grand Sire/Dam|
|Village Star||Moulin||Mill Reef|
|Kauto Relka||Port Etienne I||Mill Reef|
Kauto Star had at first been trained in France by Serge Foucher. Having moved to Paul Nicholls he began his career in England with a novice chase race at Newbury. He won that by some 9 lengths and then the Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree as it became apparent that he was top-class.
Kauto Star’s 2005/06 National Hunt season began at Exeter in the Haldon Gold Cup. Although send there at 3/1, it was merely to be a starting point.
A first Grade 1 chase win came in the Tingle Creek in 2005, after which he was kept off the track until March and his crack at the Champion Chase for which he was favourite. After falling in that, he was put away for the following season.
In October 2006 he was stepped up to 2m4f when winning the Old Roan at Aintree. He landed a statement win when he went over three miles at Haydock for the Betfair, beating Beef Or Salmon by 17 lengths.
Despite any stamina worries having been allayed, he was dropped back to two miles for the Tingle Creek once again and won it again in impressive fashion.
A first King George victory was then claimed on Boxing Day before an easy prep win in February put him spot-on for a first attempt at the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He was successful in that 2007 renewal too, winning that before reappearing the following season at Aintree once again.
By now, Denman was making his mark and Paul Nicholls wanted to keep them apart until the festival in March.
Kauto Star went for another Betfair Chase, which he won, before also landing a second King George at Kempton. Despite a lovely prep in February and doing little wrong in the race, he was to be beaten by Denman in the 2008 Gold Cup, finishing second to his stablemate.
Although also beaten at Aintree in 2008, plenty was still expected when he returned for the 2008/09 season. Wins at Down Royal and in another King George meant he was still at the top of his game and he was sent off 7/4 favourite to be the first horse to regain the Gold Cup crown, something he duly did.
More Gold Cups were attempted, but his high watermark strictly speaking came when he won yet another King George on Boxing Day 2009, beating Madison Du Berlais by a yawning 36 lengths.
He won the King George an incredible fifth time in 2011 but was retired after pulling up in the 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Kauto Star’s biggest wins:
|Date||Race||Won By (Runner-Up)||SP|
|03/12/05||Tingle Creek Chase, Sandown||1½ lengths, Ashley Brook||5/2|
|18/11/06||Betfair Chase, Haydock Park||17 lengths, Beef Or Salmon||11/10|
|02/12/06||Tingle Creek Chase, Sandown||7 lengths, Voy Por Ustedes||4/9|
|26/12/06||King George Chase, Kempton||8 lengths, Exotic Dancer||8/13|
|16/03/07||Cheltenham Gold Cup, Cheltenham||2½ lengths, Exotic Dancer||5/4|
|24/11/07||Betfair Chase, Haydock||½ length, Exotic Dancer||4/5|
|26/12/07||King George Chase, Kempton||11 lengths, Our Vic||4/6|
|16/02/08||Ascot Chase, Ascot||8 lengths, Monet’s Garden||4/11|
|01/11/08||Champion Chase, Down Royal||11 lengths, Light On The Broom||2/5|
|26/12/08||King George Chase, Kempton||8 lengths, Albertas Run||10/11|
|13/03/09||Cheltenham Gold Cup, Cheltenham||13 lengths, Denman||7/4|
|21/11/09||Betfair Chase, Haydock||Nose, Imperial Commander||4/6|
|26/12/09||King George Chase, Kempton||36 lengths, Madison Du Berlais||8/13|
|06/11/10||Champion Chase, Down Royal||4 lengths, Sizing Europe||4/7|
|19/11/11||Betfair Chase, Haydock||8 lengths, Long Run||6/1|
|26/12/11||King George Chase, Kempton||1¼ lengths, Long Run||3/1|
That’s some list! What is apparent other than Kauto Star’s class was his great versatility. Having already stepped up to three miles to win a Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock in 2006, he was still able to go back down to two miles only a month later to win a second Tingle Creek.
Kauto Star v Denman
Although both horses were trained by Paul Nicholls, the rivalry between Kauto Star and Denman was very real indeed. Ownerships were different, while punters also took strong views and who was best over their careers.
Both horses were the same age, though Kauto Star came to chasing before Denman and ran in 12 more steeplechases than his pal over the course of his career. He was also more versatile in terms of distance, and was already running in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham while Denman was still a novice.
They were eventually to clash however in the 2008 Gold Cup, Nicholls keeping them apart until that time.
While Denman remained over staying trips, Kauto Star began at Aintree over two and a half miles and eventually stepped up his game before the festival.
Defending the Gold Cup in March 2008, Kauto was beaten by Denman who scored by seven lengths. The following year, Kauto Star turned the tables when winning by 13 lengths and becoming the first horse to win back the Gold Cup.
In the 2010 renewal both horses were beaten, though Kauto Star fell when favourite for the race and in 2011 Denman managed second in the race, getting home four lengths ahead of Kauto Star.
In their Gold Cup match-ups, Denman comes out on top. However, Kauto Star won two Blue Riband races to his one, earned more than twice the career prize money and reached a high rating of 193 after the 2009 King George, Denman only managing a high of 182 the same year.
These amazing career achievements led to Kauto Star raking in £2,375,803 in win and place prize money.
Kauto Star was bred in France by Henri Aubert. When in France he was trained by Serge Foucher in Senoble.
Eventually, Paul Nicholls saw a video of the horse when he ran at Auteuil and arranged to buy him with agent Anthony Bromley.
Clive Smith was to ultimately own the horse with Nicholls training from then on.
Mick Fitzgerland, AP McCoy and Sam Thomas (twice) did get to ride Kauto Star, however Ruby Walsh was in the saddle every other time and rode him to 17 of his career victories.