It's that time of year when the best national hunt horses across the UK and Ireland return to their stables ahead of another long season with the Cheltenham Festival the long term aim for most. The legendary Kauto Star is one horse who has returned from his summer break although his long term future remains unclear with father time starting to catch up with the dual Gold cup winner. Paul Nicholls tweeted a picture of Kauto in his box at Ditcheat earlier this week and connections will decide his plans for the season in due course. At this stage all roads are open for Kauto Star with retirement a real possibility for the horse as he approaches the age of 13 at the end of the year. No horse has done more for National hunt racing that Kauto Star over the past decade and whatever his connections decide he will be remembered as one of the great horses of a generation.
It does have to be said that many were calling for the retirement of Kauto Star at the same stage 12 months ago before he went on to have a remarkable season. He won both the Betfair Chase and the King George Chase for a fifth time last season despite his advancing years with many saying he was better than ever which does make this decision a difficult one. Kauto Star went into the Gold Cup at cheltenham last year well backed but after suffering a fall at home he was pulled up early on at the festival with Ruby Walsh clearly not happy with the horse. Much will depend on how Kauto Star shows up in training over the next few weeks as Nicholls and owner Clive Smith keep an eye out for his enthusiasm at home. If he shows enough zest in his work then we could well enjoy one more season with Kauto Star on the scene and who knows, maybe he has one more Cheltenham Festival in him. As it stands now Kauto Star remains the highest rated chaser in training and whether he runs again or not he will go down as one of the best horses of all time.