Kauto Star's departure was Paul Nicholls' decision - Clive Smith

Kauto Star
Kauto Star

Owner Clive Smith insists it was "100%" former trainer Paul Nicholls' decision that Kauto Star left his yard this week.

The two-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, who was officially retired in October, is set for a new career in dressage with Laura Collett.

Kauto had been due to stay at Ditcheat until 26 December.

"It was purely a Paul Nicholls decision to take him out of the yard," Smith told BBC Radio 5 live.

"I was coming down the runway going to New York and he rang me up and said: 'The horse is moving today'.

"That's where we are, in this difficult situation where Paul Nicholls has realised he's going to be not very nice about Kauto.

"They had him for eight years down there so [he's going to have] a new career that Yogi Breisner, top man that he is, will supervise and it's only right that a horse of this calibre should have another career."

Nicholls claims Smith "failed to consult and listen properly" to the team at Ditcheat.

Smith says he initially told Nicholls of his intention to retire Kauto Star in August and discussed the horse's move to dressage with the trainer on several occasions.

He added that there was tension between the two from September, saying he was given a "rather strange welcome" at the yard.

Nicholls said that he did not wish to comment.