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Smith pays tribute to 'true star' Exotic Dancer.

Byline: Ben Newton

CLIVE SMITH, owner of Kauto Star, has paid a warm tribute to "one of the true stars of jump racing" following Exotic Dancer's sudden death from a heart attack at Aintree on Thursday.

Exotic Dancer and the dual Gold Cup winner clashed eight times over three seasons, but the ill-fated Jonjo O'Neilltrained star never once managed to beat his great adversary when they both finished, although on one occasion he came very close to toppling the champion.

"Exotic Dancer was a true star of the jumping world," said Smith.

"It was so unfortunate for him that he was always coming up against Kauto Star all the time and Kauto kept having the edge on him.

"Of all the times they met, one particular race sticks in my mind as it was the day Exotic Dancer nearly had us..

"It was the 2007 Betfair Chase at Haydock, when it rained an hour and a half before the race. Paul Nicholls warned me we would have a real fight on our hands, and Exotic Dancer gave us such a fright.

"He was so brave over the last two fences and it said everything for his guts and his courage that there was only half a length in it at the finish.

"Once again, he couldn't quite do it, and I felt so sorry for his connections that this lovely horse had the misfortune to be around at the same time as Kauto.

"Were it not for us, he'd have won a Gold Cup, as he was second to us when they clashed the first time, although you can't in any way call Exotic Dancer unsuccessful, as he won more than pounds 800,000, which was a fantastic achievement."

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Clive Smith: recalled Betfair Chase clash
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Apr 5, 2009
Words:297
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