Kauto Star was a superstar and it’s a real shame that his life off the track has been cut short.
He was a wonderful horse to ride and he gave me some of the best days I’ll ever have as a jockey.
He was without a doubt the best chaser I’ve ever ridden – a horse in a lifetime. I’ll never ride one as good as him again.
How could you? Just look at his record.
Roll of Honour
He won two Gold Cups at Cheltenham and five King George VI Chases at Kempton as part of his 23 wins in 41 starts and £2.2m in prize money. I even won three Betfair chases on him (he’s won four). He was just incredible for me, trainer Paul Nicholls, owner Clive Smith and all the team at Ditcheat, every time he stepped onto a racecourse.
He was so versatile winning Grade One chases over distances ranging from two miles to three and a quarter miles. To have the speed to burn off crack two-mile chasers but still have the stamina to out-stay top-class chasers in wars of attrition over three miles plus was just incredible.
You very rarely get that combination in a racehorse.
One of the greatest
I had some of my greatest days as a jockey on him. His last King George VI Chase win (when he beat Long Run in 2011) was fabulous.
And look at what he did in 2006/07. He won his first Betfair Chase (3m) at Haydock and then two weeks later won the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown (2m). He returned a month later to win the King George at Kempton (3m), then the AON Chase at Newbury (2m 7f) and capped the season by winning the 3m 2f Cheltenham Gold Cup.
That was phenomenal by any standard and it was great to be part of it. Kauto was very simply one of the greatest jump horses in history.
Nothing to prove
I was glad when he retired early in 2012 as everything has to come to an end. There may have been a temptation to go on what did he have to prove?
Kauto Star was brilliant and I have nothing but great memories from my association with him.