Kauto Star Statue Plans for Haydock Park
On the eve of his attempt to win an historic fifth King George on Boxing Day, Haydock Park and Betfair have jointly commissioned sculptor Willie Newton to make a Kauto Star bronze for the racecourse to acknowledge the horse’s stunning exploits in winning four Betfair Chases at the track between 2006 and 2011.
His most recent victory in the Grade 1 race brought the Haydock house down when he beat Gold Cup winner Long Run by 8 lengths last month.
Timeform rate last month’s success as the best of his four wins in the Betfair Chase, and the victory had his trainer Paul Nicholls close to tears in an emotion-charged winners’ enclosure.
Given that some pundits thought the horse should be retired after running below par at Punchestown in May, the performance not only was a testament to the horse’s ability but also his toughness and longevity at chasing’s top table – he won his first Betfair Chase in 2006 en route to winning the Betfair Million in 2007 – and the commissioning of the bronze underlines how rare such talents, and traits, are in a racehorse.
Dickon White, Haydock Park's managing director, said: "We are delighted that Haydock Park, the home of the Betfair Chase, has been chosen for a bronze of Kauto Star, arguably the best steeplechaser since Arkle.
"Kauto Star has dominated the Grade 1 three-mile race, winning no fewer than four times since its inception in 2005. Remarkably, he has regained the Betfair Chase twice, in 2009 and again in 2011. Everyone who was at the racecourse last month to see his victory will recall the race vividly for the rest of their lives. It was truly one of the most outstanding performances by a racehorse in the modern era."
Owner Clive Smith commented: “I am thrilled at this fantastic gesture from Haydock and Betfair. The horse has really captured the public’s imagination and hearts throughout his career, never more so than in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last month, and it is an honour to have him recognised in this way.”
Trainer Paul Nicholls added: “Kauto Star gave me my proudest day in my 20 years as a trainer when he won his fourth Betfair Chase last month, and this is deserved recognition for the great horse. Many thanks to Haydock and Betfair for commissioning the bronze; it will be a constant reminder of that amazing day.
“I used to ride against Willie (Newton, sculptor) and he actually rides out here once a week, doing two lots on a Saturday. But we certainly haven’t let him on Kauto Star yet!”
And Betfair’s Tony Calvin said: “The Betfair Chase was only first run in 2005, but Kauto Star quickly put it on the map as the starting point of the season for the top class staying chasers and Gold Cup winners.
“His first success in the race actually cost us a seven-figure sum, as the horse went on to complete the Betfair Million, the bonus we put up for any horse that won the Betfair Chase, King George and Gold Cup in the 2006-07 season.”
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