Kauto Star neither met the winning Gold Cup expectation placed upon him or even completed the race but he remains a champion. The only horse to be applauded in the parade ring before the race there was spontaneous clapping during the Gold Cup as he was pulled-up by his jockey Ruby Walsh.
Failure today will not dent the fans love for this animal. How many other race horses get scarves and songs in their name? His career in the Gold Cup is now finished. Winning twice might not be a record but it's still a remarkable achievement.
Trainer Paul Nicholls said Kauto Star, whose participation in the Gold Cup was in jeopardy following a schooling fall a fortnight ago, had returned from the race unscathed.
He said: "He's absolutely fine.
"Ruby wasn't happy after he'd jumped a couple of fences and we said if he wasn't happy to pull him up, and he's done the right thing.
"There's obviously something tweaking him."
Following the race he tweeted:
Kauto Star has been pulled up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Kauto Star, a 12-year-old racehorse, has already won the Gold Cup Steeple Chase at Cheltenham twice in 2007 and 2009. Today he will attempt to make that a hat-trick.
If successful, Kauto Star will go down in history as one of the most successful racehorses. See the Cheltenham fixtures here.