The dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner retired from racing in 2012 after winning 16 Grade One races, and is being retrained by the eventer.
The pair will be making an appearance on the opening night of Olympia, the London International Horse Show (16-22 December), ahead of a masterclass with Woodlander Farouche and FEI Alltech World Equestrian Games silver medallist Michael Eilberg and his father Ferdi.
Kauto Star was trained in Somerset by Paul Nicholls during his racing career. Now retired, Kauto is based at Laura’s yard in Lambourn, Berkshire, where he’s hacked and schooled frequently.
“He’s very good, he’s feeling really well,” Laura told H&H.
“He’s had some quiet time — as I broke my foot then I was away at Boekelo — but he’s back in full work now.”
Though it’s not yet confirmed exactly what the demo with involve, appearing under the bright lights of the indoor arena will certainly be a novel experience for the 14-year-old.
“He’s settled down a bit now [since coming out of racing], but he’s never been anywhere like Olympia before,” Laura added. “The atmosphere is electric and the crowd is very close to the side of the arena. There’s a lot going on, so hopefully he’ll behave!”
But despite the eagerness of fans to see Kauto in competition, they’ll have to wait a while longer.
“He’s doing really well with dressage, but there’s never been any pressure to rush him into a competition and we have no plans yet,” added Laura. “We just wanted him to have a job to do and to enjoy his retirement. He hacks and jumps and keeps active.”
The ‘Kauto Star factor’
The appearance has been supported by charity Retraining of Racehorses [RoR], which in part credits the “Kauto Star factor” for the rise in interest in ex-racehorses.
“It will be very exciting to see Kauto Star showing his new skills at such a high-profile event, demonstrating there is life after racing for this hugely successful and popular racehorse,” RoR’s Di Arbuthnot told H&H.
In his career on the racetrack Kauto gathered a massive fan base, and took the King George VI Chase at Kempton a record five times. And he’ll be back there parading on Boxing Day.
“It will be a busy week for him, Olympia and Kempton,” said Laura. “It’s exciting though and I’m really looking forward to it. It will be nice for all his fans to see him too.”
Olympic team gold medallist Laura Tomlinson, who had her first child this summer, will be doing a demo at Olympia as well, with 10-year-old mare Unique on Wednesday 17 December.
There will also be a medal parade of the British equestrian teams and a vaulting display from champion vaulter Joanne Eccles.
“We are thrilled to have so many stars — both human and equine — appearing at this year’s show. I think it is going to be the biggest and best Olympia yet,” said organiser Simon Brooks-Ward.
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