I knew back in the autumn that the working relationship between the owner of Kauto Star, Clive Smith, and trainer Paul Nicholls would end in tears. I didn’t expect there to be the level of public name calling as we have witnessed this week. Now Smith has made a jibe about how Nicholls pronounced the name Kauto Star.
So proving that you can have all the money in the world, and still act like a child.
Smith says the two men had a confrontation back in September when the Nicholls stable held its annual open day.
Smith says: “He came up to me with a tirade of foul language. He must have said six times that he wanted the horse out of the yard then, never mind this Tuesday. What happened was the final straw.
“On October 31 I had a final meeting with Paul. Kauto was in light training but it was confirmed he should be retired, as I’d wanted , but would stay at the yard until after the King George. Then, a couple of weeks ago, when I was at Haydock to unveil Kauto’s statue, Paul bowled a googly at me, saying it would be right if he could stay at the yard with Clifford Baker.
“I’d already spoken to Yogi Breisner and he said it was no good having a top-class horse like this in a yard where he’s a hack. I’m sure Clifford Baker would do a wonderful job and he’d be lovely for him but I always thought I was the owner. I didn’t see him enough anyway because I’m 100 miles away. As the owner I’m entitled to some time with him.
“I don’t want him to drift away when he has such ability and might take to dressage. He’d have a lovely time and be looked after terrifically well, just as he’d be at the Nicholls stable.
“Last Saturday it was finally decided to go ahead with the plan for Laura Collett and Yogi to have the horse and I told Paul of my plan. He said okay. He said he’d heard of Laura and that she was very good and he suggested she should come down, have a sit on the horse and have a chat with Clifford about him. It sounded very pleasant.
“On Monday at the King George lunch I was interviewed and mentioned the plan. As I left I said goodbye to Paul and all seemed fine. But yesterday [Tuesday] I was on the runway at Heathrow when he rang to say he was moving the horse.
“I’ll go down to see the horse on Sunday,” he said. “As things stand, the plan remains for him to parade at Kempton on Boxing Day.
“To be honest, I was disappointed from early on that Paul didn’t pronounce Kauto’s name correctly. There was no excuse for that, but he didn’t back off.”
What would Kauto Star have to say about this spat between his owner and the man who trained him to such glory?
I feel a competition coming on. Stay tuned to win the most unique competition prize since time began.