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Less than a fortnight after Frankel's last dance at Ascot, October concluded with the formal retirement of jump racing's equivalent colossus, Kauto Star.

Having been privy to two such remarkable equine athletes, whose storied careers ran parallel for a couple of years, racing is inevitably left with a gaping vacuum.

However, without intending to demean Frankel's superb achievements, it is only when you see how his fleeting three-year career pales in comparison to what Kauto Star was asked to do that you appreciate the magnitude of the 12-year-old's record.

Kauto Star ran 41 times, Frankel 14. Kauto Star traversed over 500 fences in crossing 113 competitive miles across nine years, Frankel clocked up 113 Flat furlongs, or 14 miles, during his three. Such comparisons are crude and unfair, but also a revelation.

Memorably, after a poor 2010/11 season, a re-energised Kauto Star brought the house down with that stunning triumph at Haydock last November, before fulfilling his destiny by claiming a fifth King George VI Chase at Kempton on St Stephen's Day.

A schooling fall that Paul Nicholls described as "awful" undermined the 16-time Grade One winner's Gold Cup prospects this year, yet he still concluded his final season as the highest-rated horse in training for a seventh time. That took some doing.

When Ruby Walsh, with whom he forged such a serene partnership, elected to opt out with more than a circuit still to run at Prestbury Park in March, the cheer from the crowd lifted the roof from the stands. It felt like the end of a heroic era, and so it has proved.

Initially viewed as a bit of an enigma due to some random, jaw-dropping fencing errors, Kauto Star won over the public in much the same way that Desert Orchid and Arkle had done in years past.

Under Walsh's flawless stewardship, the best and most versatile jumper of his generation excelled in a truly golden age for steeplechasing.

And while his class was always evident, it was his hardy constitution that endeared him to the masses and enabled him to keep coming back for more. When Long Run arrived on the scene in early 2011, some believed a natural heir had emerged.

He crushed Kauto Star on what was considered home turf at Kempton, only for the old boy, along with fellow veteran Denman, to sensationally serve it up to him in what might well have been the best Gold Cup ever run just a couple of months later.

Not surprisingly, Long Run's exertions took a toll, and it was Kauto Star that took advantage by redressing the balance in such spectacular fashion last term. When you recall that subsequent heartfelt farewell at Cheltenham, it amounted to a glorious swansong befitting his legendary status. We'll surely never see his like again.

Irish Independent