Kauto Star has unexpectedly left the care of trainer Paul Nicholls as he prepares to embark on a possible dressage career.
Owner Clive Smith announced on Monday that the 12-year-old would be joining European bronze medalist eventing rider Laura Collett as he explores avenues to keep his now-retired superstar chaser active in retirement.
Collett, 22, is due to be assisted by Yogi Breisner, the long-time Great Britain manager and coach, who has overseen medal success at Olympic, World and European level.
The five-times King George VI Chase hero and winner of the Betfair Chase four times was officially retired in October and Breisner will assess his suitability for the discipline in the coming weeks. However, it was thought that Kauto Star would not leave Nicholls before Boxing Day, when he is due to lead the runners in the parade for the King George.
The champion trainer later wished his former stable star well for the future, tweeting: "Just to confirm we have delivered KS to his new home. I'm sure he will have the best of everything. Good luck my friend, horse of a lifetime."
Nicholls later revealed in his Betfair column he had asked Smith to remove Kauto Star from the yard following discussions with his team, saying: "It is with great sadness that I have to report that Kauto Star has left the yard for the last time. It has been no secret that Kauto's future has been a great source of debate since we announced his retirement.
"And, to be brutally honest, this morning I felt the time had finally come for me to take control of the situation, and to start making the decisions. Now, I am fully aware that Kauto is Clive's horse and he can do as he wishes, even though I would personally have loved Clifford to have looked after him for the rest of his years.
"But what upset me and my team here is when Clive announced that he had spoken to experts about the horse's future - but failed to consult and listen properly to the team that had looked after him here for the past nine years. That really upset us.
"So we had a team meeting here this morning. And after listening to everybody involved - there were about six of us in the meeting - I rang up Clive, said I don't want to fall out, but we think it is in the best interests of everybody concerned to take Kauto to Yogi Breisner's this afternoon so that he could start his new career in the eventing field as soon as possible. Which we did with the saddest of hearts. But I like to think with a lot of dignity, too. And, yes, there were plenty of tears too. He was a member of the family here at Ditcheat, and we will all miss him so much.
"I would just to like say that it was a privilege for us here at Ditcheat to train the horse. Good luck, old boy. You were the best - and deserve the best."
27 November 2014Meade eyeing Monks return
Uttoxeter being monitored
George goal for Ferof
Fehily answers Unioniste call
Irving fighting fit for Newcastle
Fit-again McCoy rules out landmark
Bobs confirmed for Lexus repeat
King expects Mor from Carraig
Cheltenham foes back on Gold trail
BHA announces prize-money fillip
Grant handed six-month ban
Banned Fenton 'less than truthful'
26 November 2014McCoy makes winning return
National aim for Wyck
Hand up for Becher challenge
Meade admits Riches ground question
McCoy leaning towards Merry mount
Christmas aim for Owega
Walsh expecting bold Sceaux show
Smith sadness at Mania retirement
Cadeaux among Hong Kong hopefuls
Staying aims for Trev
Retirement for National hero Mania
Fenton lodges ban appeal
Knott found in breach of rules
No stopping Twiston-Davies
Bans for jockeys in flag drama
Djak experience a concern for Walsh
More headlines Long Distance field
Tributes flow for Lady Herries
McCoy returns at Fontwell
25 November 2014Void race drama at Sedgefield
Colombieres stars in Mullins entry
Bridgwater buoyed by Bolster
Trade ready to storm Hong Kong
Bowe ponders Robin Power play
Apache on the march for Drinmore
Pipe - Stamina key to Bally chance
Sacre not guaranteed for Sandown
Tower 'sore' after Navan spill
Spirit ensures more Henderson woe
Walsh praise for Vautour
Walsh cool on Faugheen odds
Victory team on weather watch
New relief for Twiston-Davies
Nicholls planning dual George raid
Leather in fine form ahead of Cup
24 November 2014Hobbs upbeat about Fingal raid
Fry keen for crack at Tolworth
Midnight to stay over hurdles
Creek seeking Hennessy Gold
Dynaste team consider George run
Topper target hinges on ground
Followme poised for Drinmore date
Balbriggan lands Troytown gamble
Vautour impresses on chasing debut
Un De Sceaux set for Thurles
Melodic team face tough choice
Henderson aims at Listed prize
Croco in frame for Topham
Deputy in Kempton firing line
McBratney banks on Boy progress