Seacookie, who won Pau CCI4* in 2013 with William Fox-Pitt, has been retired from competition at the age of 16.

“We always planned to retire him at the end of last year,” said William. “He’s done us so well and been an incredible horse throughout his career.”

Seacookie, by Helikon out of a mare called Sonnenwende III (by Onassis), was bred in Germany by Walter Elxnat. He started his career with German star Ingrid Klimke, who produced him up to three-star level and won Marbach CIC3* with him in 2007.

He was bought for William by prolific owner Catherine Witt and joined his Dorset yard after Boekelo in 2007. The pair finished in the top 10 at four-star together six times. As well as his Pau win, Seacookie was second (2013), ninth (2014) and sixth (2009) at Kentucky, as well as second (2010) and eighth (2009) at Burghley. He also won Blenheim CCI3* in 2012.

“He had some great wins for me,” continued William, who named the run of success which included the horse’s Blenheim and Pau victories and runner-up placing at Kentucky as the highlight. “He was on the form of his life then — he was at his best and enjoying himself.

“He was always a spooky horse and quite cautious, but he put in some amazing performances. We’ll miss him.”

Seacookie will now enjoy his retirement in the field at owner Catherine Witt’s Rookery Park Stud, although William said connections had not ruled out the possibility of him competing at a lower level in the future.

Seacookie earned 1291 British Eventing points during his seven years competing in this country.

Catherine Witt’s remaining four-star horses with William made a good start to the season yesterday, with Bay My Hero winning an open intermediate at Tweseldown and Parklane Hawk finishing second in the same section. Full report in H&H this week (19 March).