Kauto stars at Newbury
Kauto Star put his new dressage skills on show with a demonstration before racing at Newbury.
Last Updated: 02/03/13 4:58pm
The 13-year-old bowed out of the racing arena late last year after a fantastic career which yielded 16 Grade One wins, including two Cheltenham Gold Cup and a record five King George VI Chases.
Owner Clive Smith was keen to keep his star busy in retirement and sent him to leading event rider Laura Collett, who was in the saddle for the display at Newbury.
Kauto Star drew a healthy crowd as he completed laps of the paddock both walking and trotting before breaking into a canter and criss-crossing the parade ring.
Collett's work with Kauto Star has been overseen by British eventing chief Yogi Breisner and he was pleased with the gelding's diplay.
He said: "He performed much better than I thought he would. He's only been doing this for about eight weeks and he showed what an impressive horse he is.
"He can do a lot more than he showed today but we were rather restricted with the area. The biggest test for an ex-racehorse is whether they can do the canter well.
It's much more collected in dressage but he's taken well to it.
"The plan is to do a dressage trial some time in the spring. We're not planning to go to Rio (for the 2016 Olympics) but hopefully he can enjoy himself and keep improving after that."
Smith was similarly delighted with Kauto Star's show and was pleased to give the horse's fans the opportunity to see him in his new discipline.
He said: "I'm so pleased to have brought him here today and let people get a good sight of him in his new career. I think people are happier seeing him do something else and he seems to have taken to it really well."
Collett thought Kauto Star deserved plenty of credit as he returned to the racecourse.
"We brought him here this morning to have a look around and he did get lit up when he saw the crowds coming into the parade ring," he said.
"It was a huge ask bringing him back to a racecourse but he made me proud."