Kauto Star retirement talk is premature, says Paul Nicholls

Kauto Star is lead off the course after being pulled up during the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2012

Talk of retiring double Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Kauto Star would be "very premature", according to the popular horse's trainer Paul Nicholls.

Kauto Star was pulled up by jockey Ruby Walsh on Friday, attempting a record third Gold Cup win at the Festival.

Afterwards, owner Clive Smith said 12-year-old Kauto Star could be retired.

But Nicholls said: "Clive and I haven't even discussed it, and I daresay we won't in any great detail until Kauto comes back in, in July."

He wrote in his Betfair column: "We just ran out of time with him. But Kauto is 100%.

"We will canter him away and rough him off for the summer and see where we stand when he comes back in. But any talk of retirement is very premature.

"This season told everyone not to be so hasty in writing him off."

Kauto Star had looked set for retirement last summer after being 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.

He was then rated only 50-50 for the Gold Cup after he fell in a schooling session three weeks beforehand, but Nicholls was satisfied that he had returned to full fitness for a race won by champion jockey Tony McCoy on Synchronised.

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.

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