Breisner doubts if Kauto Star is Olympic class
Yogi Breisner admits it is unlikely Kauto Star will develop into an Olympic-class dressage horse following his retirement from racing.
The 12-year-old left the care of trainer Paul Nicholls on Tuesday after owner Clive Smith decided to let his star performer try a new discipline after bowing out of the National Hunt arena.
Smith’s plan was not popular with the Ditcheat team and the trainer asked the owner to remove the horse, with Kauto Star now being cared for by new rider Laura Collett.
The 22-year-old is a decorated event rider at junior levels and aspiring Olympian for 2016, and she will work with the gelding alongside long-time British manager and coach Yogi Breisner.
He admits his top priority is the horse’s welfare and while he has yet to evaluate Kauto Star’s dressage attributes, he believes any talk of an Olympic outing is most premature.
He told Sky Sports News Radio: “As we know he’s had a fantastic racing career, he’s been brilliantly trained and looked after by Mr Nicholls and his staff at Ditcheat and so this is just a matter of getting to see if he will settle into a different type of routine in life.
he does that comfortably, then maybe there’s an alternative thing he can do, but we don’t know that until we have started to work with him.
“Number one is how to look after the horse’s best interests, his welfare and care and give him what he deserves in life after a magnificent racing career.
“If a horse is going to reach Olympic level, they really need to start their education when they are young, sort of four- or five-year-olds,” he said.
“So it would be a tremendous exception if a horse could come out of retirement from racing and then go into an alternative career that was going to lead to Olympic level, never mind a medal, in any of the three disciplines.”
Eventing legend Mark Todd also believes Kauto Star will struggle to be rated a top-level dressage horse, but expects the veteran to thrive on a new activity.
“I wouldn’t want to get involved in the ins and outs of it, as I don’t know the trainer and I don’t know the owner, but my first thought was that I was glad he got the chance to do something else,” Todd said.
“He’s not old at 12, and it’s nice he will be able to do something, as horses don’t want to be bored. “I retired Charisma (a double gold medal winner at the Olympics in the 1980s) at 16, and he didn’t want to be just stuck out in a field.
“I’ve seen Kauto Star racing, he was an exceptional horse. I think it’s unlikely he’ll hit the heights at dressage.”