Fitzgerald welcomes Kauto decision
Wednesday 31 October 2012
Former top jockey Mick Fitzgerald has welcomed the decision to retire the legendary Kauto Star.
Now a TV presenter, Fitzgerald partnered Kauto Star just once, but he was lucky enough to be aboard when the gelding won his first Grade One in the 2005 Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown Park.
"He's just been an amazing horse. It was a pleasure to be asked to ride him in the Tingle Creek and a treat to do so," he said.
"I actually went down to Ditcheat last week and I saw Kauto and he looked absolutely fantastic. It's great news he's been retired as he can now go and enjoy the rest of his life.
"He's produced some incredible performances. Haydock last year was fantastic and all you had to do was look at Paul Nicholls after the race and you could see what the horse meant to him. I think Paul has done an absolutely incredible job with the horse. He deserves a huge amount of credit.
"You'd have to say Kauto Star is right up there with the best (there's ever been). To win two Tingle Creeks, two Gold Cups and five King Georges says everything you need to know. He's been an amazing, amazing horse."
Sam Thomas, who won the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup aboard Denman, partnered Kauto Star to glory in the 2007 Betfair Chase at Haydock.
He said: "I was lucky enough to ride him and win on him and he has been a very special horse. He did an enormous amount to raise the profile of National Hunt racing and I think enormous credit has to go to Paul Nicholls for producing him to win all those big races on the big days.
"It's a shame we won't see him run again, but at least he will be able to enjoy his retirement with his old friend Denman. I think Kauto's record will struggle to be beaten in my generation and now he's retired, along with Denman, it's the end of an era.
"The battles between the two of them were a big part of my career and part of my life that I'll never forget. Kauto was a wonder horse and we might not see the likes of him and Denman again."
Brian Clifford, Head of Racing and Clerk of the Course at Kempton Park, said: “Kauto Star is just the most fabulous racehorse and everyone at our racecourse who has witnessed his feats in the King George over the years feels privileged to have been here to be part of history. His achievements in the King George may never be equalled; he was that good.
“Kempton Park will certainly miss him because spectators were so excited when they saw him on the track, but the good news is that Kauto’s owner Clive Smith has agreed that the superstar will be here with us again on Boxing Day on parade.
“We will also shortly be talking to Clive about a permanent tribute to Kauto Star at the racecourse.”