Champion Hurdle winner Hardy Eustace retired

  • Hardy Eustace, winner of the Champion Hurdle in 2004 and 2005, has been retired.

    The 13-year-old gelding was retired last Thursday (31 December) after being beaten at Punchestown.

    The racehorse has recorded 14 wins, including in seven Grade One races and won £1m in prize money. But he hasn’t won since November 2008.

    Hardy Eustace beat favourite Rooster Booster by five lengths in the 2004 Champion Hurdle and then famously fought a hard battle with Harchibald to retain his title the following year.

    Trainer Dessie Hughes made the decision to retire him after the horse was beaten in the Kathleen Clarke 80th Birthday Hurdle at Punchestown by Footy Facts.

    “The ground was bottomless and it didn’t suit him at all, but he still ran very well. If the ground had been good I’m sure he would have given an unbelievable performance,” he said.

    “Anyway, even in that ground the fact that he couldn’t beat Footy Facts means he won’t be able to compete in Grade Ones, and there are no other races for him. He’s been a good, tough horse with a lot of class, and a very healthy one too.”

    Hardy Eustace, who is owned by Laurence Byrne will be kept at Dessie Hughes’s Co Kildare yard for his retirement.

    “He will be ridden out every day until the spring and he’ll go out to grass in the summer and we’ll bring him back in again I’m sure.

    “He won’t want to do nothing, so we’ll have to keep him moving. We’ll keep him happy and it’s nice to have horses like him in the yard.”

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