FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010 file photo, racehorse trainer Paul Nicholls stands next to Cheltenham Gold Cup hope, Kauto Star at Manor Farm Stables in Ditcheat, western England. Kauto Star, one of Britain's greatest and most popular racehorses,
Alan Crowhurst, File
June 30, 2015

LONDON (AP) Kauto Star, the two-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner who was one of Britain's greatest and most popular racehorses, has been euthanized after sustaining pelvis and neck injuries in a fall in a paddock.

Laura Collett, who rode Kauto Star in dressage following his retirement from jump racing in 2012, said in a Twitter post on Tuesday that ''a decision was made to put him to sleep'' after his injuries.

Kauto Star, who was 15, won the King George VI Chase five times and became the first horse to regain the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He won 23 of his 41 races and won more than 2 million pounds ($3.15 million) in prize money.

`'I'm obviously mortified. He was like my best mate really,'' said Paul Nicholls, who trained Kauto Star.

`'I've been very lucky to have trained some incredible horses, but I've always said he's once in a lifetime.''

Kauto Star's owner, Clive Smith, said the horse suffered what appeared to be a minor injury last week but that his condition deteriorated at the weekend.

`'We are not really sure how he did it, but he injured himself - and it became obvious it was serious,'' Smith said.

''When I saw him (on Monday) afternoon, he was lying there and I fed him some grass and stroked him and tried to spend the last few minutes with him. The decision had to be taken and there was no other course of action to take.''

Kauto Star won 16 Grade One races, and Smith said the horse had the `'heart of a lion.''

''He was so brave, he had everything really,'' Smith said. `'He was the complete racehorse.''

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