Keeley Durham’s wonderful horse, Virtual Village Welham, will be retired an official ceremony at the Hickstead Derby meeting on Sunday.

Welham, who became the oldest horse ever to win the Derby when he triumphed last year at the age of 21, is “fit and well”, according to Keeley and his rider, John Whitaker.

“He’s perfectly sound, but I was galloping at home in preparation for this year’s class and he seemed to be feeling his age. He doesn’t owe us anything and he’s been the best horse in the world for me,” said Keeley, who started Welham’s career and won the national young riders championship on him before John took him over.

Welham made his final appearance at Hickstead in Friday’s 1.30m open in ring two, and will now spend his retirement with his owner.

Welham will be honoured on Sunday, together with Richard Davison’s top dressage ride, Hiscox Askari, when they will receive the new Hiscox Elite Award, which will be given for horses whose achievements at Hickstead have been of historic importance.