A minor leg injury during training at his home yard has ended the career of champion chaser Sprinter Sacre, trainer Nicky Henderson reported on Twitter Sunday. The 10-year-old winner of 18 of his 24 lifetime starts, including nine at the Group 1 level, retires with earnings of £1,136,884 (about $1.4 million US).
“His ability and charisma go together,” said Henderson at Sprinter Sacre's retirement ceremony at Cheltenham Sunday afternoon, according to racingpost.com. “He is the epitome of the horse who looks the part, moves the part and is the part. Life will have to go on without him. It has been such an emotional time over the last five or six years but I have loved every minute of it. All good things have to come to an end.”
Sprinter Sacre was a top hurdler (approximately 3'6″ jumps), but it was over fences (jumps at 4'6″) that he became a champion. He captured the 2013 Champion Chase in the midst of a star-studded, undefeated campaign, but the next season he was pulled up during a race at Kempton. It was discovered that he had an irregular heartbeat.
He went nearly two years without a victory, struggling with the same heartbeat issue, but in a fan-favorite return, Sprinter Sacre came back to win the 2016 Champion Chase.
“I can't say I ever rode a horse over a fence, the way Sprinter went,” said jockey Barry Geraghty. “On his day I never sat on anything like that, the way he could extend, ping and land running.”
Read more at racingpost.com.
It is with deep regret that I have to announce the sad news that Sprinter Sacre has been retired. He was the horse of an absolute lifetime.
— Nicky Henderson (@sevenbarrows) November 13, 2016
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