Kauto Star 'may be retired' after pulling up in Gold Cup

By Frank KeoghBBC Sport at Cheltenham

Owner Clive Smith says Kauto Star could be retired after the two-time winner was pulled up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Jockey Ruby Walsh took the record-breaking horse out of the race - won by jockey Tony McCoy on Synchronised - on the first circuit.

Smith said the 12-year-old would not run again this season and any decision about his future would be made later in the year after talks with trainer Paul Nicholls.

"He could be retired," Smith told BBC Sport.

"We'll have to talk about it. He has nothing to prove to me, and he doesn't need to go on and on."

Smith said Walsh pulled up the 16-time Grade One winner after he started to drop down the field.

"He jumped the first few fences very well and then he stretched a bit at the water jump and just pulled a muscle inside. The obvious thing to do was to pull him up."

Kauto Star had been rated 50-50 for the race after he fell in a schooling session three weeks beforehand, but Nicholls was satisfied he had returned to full fitness.

Nicholls said: "We won't worry about whether or not that was the last run of his career. He has been a blinding horse, so we will turn him out during the summer and then see what happens.

"I will have a talk with Clive - I am not going to make any rash decisions at the moment - he has been a wonderful horse and we will do what is best for him."

Walsh said Kauto Star had been "the horse of a lifetime".

"I don't know what will happen now. I thought it would be his last day when he was pulled up at Punchestown last year."

Kauto Star owner Clive Smith
Owner Smith says Kauto Star has the heart of a lion

The horse had looked set for retirement when he was pulled up at Punchestown in May, but after a summer's rest, he returned to win at Haydock in November before claiming the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day for a record fifth time.

Kauto Star is the only horse to have regained the Gold Cup title having lost it, winning the race in 2009 two years after his first triumph.

Smith added he felt "lucky to have had him, he's been a fantastic champion".

"He's a really lovely horse. He's got a great temperament and is a lovable horse. He's intelligent as well.

"He's got the heart of a lion and has won races through sheer determination so I feel lucky to have had him."