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Kauto Star to be paraded before Gold Cup
9:39pm Thursday 14th March 2013 in Sport
Kauto Star will be appreciated as a champion by the Cheltenham faithful when he returns to lead out the Gold Cup field today, just as he was a year ago when Ruby Walsh walked him away from the course and his racing life.
Much has occurred since the career of the finest chaser in almost half a century drew to a close, and he looked set to spend his retirement with personal appearances and lazy days in Somerset.
However, he was instead handed into the care of local eventing sensation Laura Collett.
The 23-year-old rider still seems to be relishing her opportunity, and work is going well at Kauto Star’s new home on the Membury Estate.
“He’s a very intelligent horse and he seems to learn things very quickly,” she explains.
“That’s not always the case with ex-jumpers we have worked with, even ones who have had far shorter careers than him, and it makes my life a lot easier!”
While it sounds difficult to describe the actual process of teaching the discipline, it is essentially laborious.
“It’s very softly, softly,” Collett said. “He’s not forced to do anything he doesn’t want to do. He’s very open to it and he appreciates the praise when he does something right. He doesn’t seem to forget things, once he has done it once, it sticks in his mind.
“You have to repeat things day in, day out. He’s building up, but the basics are the most important things to establish. You learn the foundations and build up different muscles before he could perhaps start learning some more.”