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Posted By: JR

Owner Clive Smith believes Kauto Star’s achievements stack up well against those of any other jumping heavyweight in history.

Smith is still basking in the memory of the William Hill King George VI Chase on Boxing Day, when the 12-year-old gelding made history to become the first horse to win the Kempton classic five times.

In returning from a disappointing 2010-11 campaign in such style, discussions have been raised over Kauto Star’s position in the all-time rankings.

Even on his highest Timeform rating, he fell some way short of Arkle, widely considered the finest ever after his three Cheltenham Gold Cups and other phenomenal weight-carrying performances in the 1960s.

Arkle’s stablemate Flyingbolt, who was never able to fulfil his incredible potential because of health problems, and Golden Miller, who won five Gold Cups and a Grand National in the 1930s, are others considered to be in the very highest echelon.

“It has been very interesting reading about the comparisons with the greats of the past,” Smith said.

“Obviously this is an exceptional horse. I’m from the golfing world, where you look at Tiger Woods against the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player back to Gene Sarazen and Bobby Jones, and I think it’s very difficult to compare stars from different eras.

“Kauto Star’s era is very, very competitive. Martin Pipe changed the way horses were trained and now they are far fitter.

“In the days of Golden Miller and Arkle after the War, there were a lot of burlier chasers around.

“Kauto Star is a different build – he’s a more athletic type of horse to when you look at pictures of horses like Arkle, Flyingbolt, Mill House and Golden Miller.

“He has won everything he can and has been so adaptable – dropping down to win two Tingle Creeks, but also being able to win two Gold Cups and four Betfair Chases.

“He’s won more Grade Ones than the others – I know there weren’t those kind of races around for Arkle and the rest – but you can’t knock his achievements.”

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