According to Timeform – notwithstanding the highly questionable, exaggerated ratings awarded to Arkle and Flyingbolt – Kauto Star was the joint fifth-best steeplechaser since the early 1960s, rated alongside fellow Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Mill House and just 1lb inferior to dual Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Sprinter Sacre.
Trained by Paul Nicholls at Manor Farm Stables in Ditcheat, Somerset and ridden, for most of his career, by Ruby Walsh, Kauto Star won 23 of his 41 races – including 19 of his 31 steeplechases – and over £2.3 million in win and place prize money. He famously won the King George VI Chase at Kempton a record five times, in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011, and the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice, in 2007 and 2009. In fact, his impressive 13-length victory over stable companion Denman in 2009 – having finished second to the same horse the previous year – made him the first horse to regain the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
All in all, Kauto Star won 16 Grade 1 steeplechases, over distances ranging from 1 mile 7½ furlongs to 3 miles 2½ furlongs, during a brilliant career and is rightly remembered as one of the finest racehorses of all time. On his retirement from racing in 2012, owner Clive Smith announced at a press conference in London that Kauto Star would be moved to the Berkshire stables of professional event rider Laura Collett, without informing his former trainer Paul Nicholls. The move led to an acrimonious split between Nicholls and Smith, with Nicholls saying, “I can’t see that [any further Smith-owned horses in the yard] happening”.
Kauto Star demonstrated his new dressage skills a few times, including at the London International Horse Show at Olympia in December, 2014, but six months later was injured in a fall at home. He suffered complications resulting from neck and pelvic injuries and was humanely euthanised in June, 2015.