Laura Collett has enjoyed her first experience of riding Kauto Star as she prepares to assess his suitability for a potential dressage career.
The retired National Hunt superstar, who won five King Georges and two Cheltenham Gold Cups, was required to make an early departure from his stable in Somerset after a difference of opinions between trainer Paul Nicholls and owner Clive Smith.
While Nicholls hoped Kauto Star could remain with the staff at Manor Farm Stables in Ditcheat, Smith felt Kauto Star should try a new discipline and asked Collett, a decorated event rider at junior levels and aspiring Olympian for 2016, to work with the gelding along with long-time British manager and coach Yogi Breisner.
The 22-year-old Collett received Kauto Star on Tuesday afternoon and tweeted on Wednesday morning: "I am officially the LUCKIEST girl in the world right now.... I have just ridden Kauto Star... He is a truly amazing horse... Felt like a fresh 4yo which is all credit to @PFNicholls and his team. I am honoured."
Breisner, who is often used by trainers to get to the bottom of problem racehorses, coaches Collett on a very regular basis. He was put in touch with Smith by Di Arbuthnot, chief executive of the Retraining of Racehorses charity, which is affiliated with the British Horseracing Authority.
Breisner was asked by Sky Sports News Radio about Kauto Star's attributes for potential success in the dressage arena.
He said: "This is up for us to assess at the moment. As we know he's had a fantastic racing career, he's been brilliantly trained and looked after by Mr Nicholls and his staff at Ditcheat and so this is just a matter of getting to see if he will settle into a different type of routine in life.
"If he does that comfortably, then maybe there's an alternative thing he can do, but we don't know that until we have started to work with him. Number one is how to look after the horse's best interests, his welfare and care and give him what he deserves in life after a magnificent racing career."
Breisner explained a little about what Kauto Star would be doing with Collett and himself, adding: "It's not a matter of putting him through anything at all really, it's just ride him away and see a little bit where we are with him and how he takes to a different routine. As a racehorse they go out in a string and they are worked very much to get them fit, etcetera and that routine will be slightly changed in that he would be doing work in an arena, and gentle exercises in that sort of way, and then we will see a little bit how we go after that."
Breisner did, however, scotch any suggestion Kauto Star could go on from winning a Cheltenham Gold Cup to an Olympic dressage medal, saying: "If a horse is going to reach Olympic level, they really need to start their education when they are young, sort of four or five-year-olds. So it would be a tremendous exception if a horse could come out of retirement from racing and then go into an alternative career that was going to lead to Olympic level, never mind a medal, in any of the three disciplines."
2 May 2016Drama at Bath as horses narrowly avoid two people on track
Robin Of Navan set to swerve Lingfield trial for France
Aidan O'Brien - US Army Ranger will learn plenty at Chester
Found finds magic touch for Mooresbridge Stakes success
Derby tilt not ruled out for Guineas runner-up Massaat
Awtaad too good for Blue De Vega in Tetrarch Stakes at the Curragh
Aidan O'Brien - Classic trials likely to be key to Minding plans
Bryan Smart reveals Dante option at York for Kentuckyconnection
Steve Rogers drawn stall three in Chester Cup for Roger Varian
Somehow bids to continue Aidan O'Brien dominance in Cheshire Oaks
Aidan O'Brien ponders Irish 2,000 Guineas run for vanquished Air Force Blue
Australian ace Chautauqua to duck Royal Ascot
Prix Ganay glory for Dariyan and Alain de Royer-Dupre
Swiss Range speeds to Pretty Polly success for Frankie Dettori and John Gosden
Minding all business for 1000 Guineas glory at Newmarket
Oasis Fantasy returns to winning ways at Newmarket
Usherette on top for Andre Fabre and France in Dahlia Stakes
John Gosden happy with Crazy Horse and Royal Artillery after Newmarket gallop
Fascinating Rock and Found clash in Mooresbridge showdown at the Curragh
'No obvious cause' for Jack Hobbs Newmarket flop - Godolphin
Hugo Palmer to delay Derby call with Guineas star Galileo Gold
1 May 2016Kevin Prendergast puts Awtaad on Classic trial in Tetrarch Stakes at the Curragh
'Incredible' Maurice rules in Champions Mile at Sha Tin
Roger Varian backs Belardo to bounce back at Newbury
Roger Varian has Intilaaq in 'great shape' for Sandown mission
Warren Greatrex aims high with Punchestown hero One Track Mind
Iain Jardine considers Haydock heat for 'improving' Shrewd
National hero Pineau De Re bows out at Uttoxeter
Whiteout holds Limini for surprise Punchestown victory
Galileo strikes Guineas gold for Frankie Dettori and Hugo Palmer
Exosphere sparkles as Jack Hobbs is pulled up in Jockey Club Stakes
US Army Ranger leads Aidan O'Brien entries in Chester Vase
Knight Owl swoops for James Fanshawe at Newmarket
Profitable lives up to his name with Palace House triumph at Newmarket
Covert Love to miss Middleton Stakes at York
David Elsworth has Arabian Queen in bloom for Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket
30 April 2016Tommy Dowling suffers multiple injuries in Fontwell fall
Eddie Lynam and Sole Power charged up for Newmarket House raid
Eddie Lynam and Sole Power charged up for Newmarket House raid
Marcel set to feel the Force in 2000 Guineas
Fringe a cut above at Punchestown once more
Gavin Cromwell joy as Jer's Girl has the power at Punchestown
Vroum Vroum Mag hits top gear at Punchestown for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh
Minding out to master 1000 Guineas rivals at Newmarket
Classic 'acid test' looms for 2000 Guineas favourite Air Force Blue
Limini sights set on Mares Champion prize at Punchestown
Jack Hobbs returns in 'proper' Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket
29 April 2016Jack Kennedy dazzles aboard Punchestown winner Definite Ruby
Avant Tout sweet at Punchestown under cool Paul Townend
Shin A Vee glee at Punchestown for Denis Cullen
Sir Michael Stoute throws Cannock Chase in Huxley hat at Chester
Iain Jardine keen on Nakeeta for Chester Cup glory
David Wachman calls time on Legatissimo career
John Gosden considers racecourse gallop for Derby dark horse Royal Artillery
Lingfield Friday card switched to the all-weather
Apple's Jade seeking Champion honours at Punchestown
Minding heads sweet sixteen for 1000 Guineas at Newmarket
Champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa not banking on title defence
Michael O'Leary admits to Don Cossack career fears
All options open next year to dazzling Douvan after festival hat-trick
This is where we want to be - Warren Greatrex on top with One Track Mind
Nicky Henderson gets on Punchestown scoresheet with Cup Final
Quantitativeeasing adds up to La Touche glory for Enda Bolger
Galileo Gold all the rage in 2000 Guineas market
Bright New Dawn lights up Punchestown Festival
'Not a bother' on National hero Rule The World after Punchestown
Willie Mullins pursues Punchestown prize with revved-up Vroum Vroum Mag
Gavin Cromwell has Jer's Girl 'in great nick' for Punchestown date