National Hunt hero Kauto Star has been put down after a field accident.
The record-breaking ex-racehorse sustained fractures to his neck and pelvis in the paddock on Wednesday (24 June).
The 15-year-old gelding was taken to Valley Equine Hospital in Lambourn, but put down yesterday (Monday 29 June).
“It’s very, very sad indeed,” owner Clive Smith told H&H.
“I wanted to give him a nice time for the rest of his life. I have tremendous memories of him, he was a wonderful horse.”
Hattie Lawrence, the vet who treated Kauto Star at the Valley Equine Hospital, said the horse had been referred to the hospital on Saturday after the injuries were “failing to respond satisfactorily to treatment”.
“His injuries included a complex fracture to the pelvis and a fracture at the base of the neck, and these resulted in further complications,” she added.
“While the range of treatments administered at the hospital in the 48 hours following his admission ensured that Kauto Star was comfortable, sadly his condition deteriorated again during Monday and, in the horse’s best interests, a decision was taken together with Mr Smith to euthanase him on Monday afternoon.”
Clive said: “He had been turned out in Laura’s paddock, as has been the case normally with him at this time for years, and he looks to have jumped something, and perhaps stumbled, we’re not really sure, but he injured himself — and it became obvious it was serious.
“The onset of secondary problems, pneumonia and laminitis, as a result of the horse being unable to put his head down and the increase of toxins in his body after standing stationary for so long, highlight the challenges faced when treating serious injuries in horses.
“Hattie and the vets at Valley Equine Hospital did all they could and more. Kauto was kept comfortable throughout and not in pain when the decision to put him down was taken.”
As well as winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice (2007 and 2009) Kauto Star won the King George at Kempton five times — in 2011 breaking the record set by legendary grey Desert Orchid.
Kauto Star was trained in Somerset by Paul Nicholls during his racing career. He retired in October 2012 and moved to Laura’s yard in Lambourn where he was hacked and schooled frequently.
A statue of Kauto was commissioned by Clive and was unveiled at Kempton racecourse on Boxing Day last year.
It was created by equestrian sculptor Charlie Langton and is positioned in the parade ring for all racegoers to see.
“I have a similar one in my garden, I can see and remember every day,” added Clive.