Top racehorses head for retirement

quevega

Retirement beckons for two Irish National Hunt stars, after running with tremendous credit at the Punchestown Festival this week (29 April-3 May).

Trainer Willie Mullins called time on the career of supermare Quevega after she finished runner-up to Jetson in Punchestown’s World Series Hurdle on Friday (1 May) — a race she has won 4 times.

This was the first time the 6-time Cheltenham Mares’ Hurdle winner had been beaten since 2009.

The 10-year-old will embark on a new career as a broodmare.

Mr Mullins described Quevega as irreplaceable, and that she will “leave a huge gap in our yard”.

She won 16 of her 24 starts, including 4 Grade 1s and a total of £749,279 prize-money.

Meanwhile, former champion chaser Sizing Europe looks set to round off his own stellar career after clocking his second win in Wednesday’s Boylesports.com Champion Chase (30 April). Connections mentioned the expected retirement, but it has yet to be confirmed after the 12-year-old looked spring-heeled in coming home 5½ lengths clear of David Pipe’s Ballynagour.

Sizing Europe (right) battles with Finian's Rainbow at Cheltenham in 2012

Sizing Europe (right) battles with Finian’s Rainbow at Cheltenham 2012

The Henry de Bromhead-trained gelding has won every major 2-mile chase, including the Arkle, Tingle Creek as well as the Queen Mother. His owner Alan Potts has said he wanted the horse to finish on a high.

He has won 21 of his 42 starts, 8 of them at Grade 1, and nearly £1.25million prize-money. He was unlucky to be in the same era as Sprinter Sacre — who beat him in both the Queen Mother and the Boylesports.com Champion Chases last year.

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