Two former stars of the track — Rite Of Passage and Hardy Eustace — are set to enjoy the rest of their retirements as “Living Legends” at the Irish National Stud.
Ten-year-old Rite Of Passage is best known for his 2010 Ascot Gold Cup victory, which was only his third start under Flat rules. He was also named Cartier Racing Award for European Champion Stayer the same year.
In 2012 he made a successful return to the track after 510 days away with tendon problems to win the British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot’s British Champions Day.
Hardy Eustace was the 2004 and 2005 Champion Hurdle winner at Cheltenham. He was described as “a very special horse” by his owner, Lar Byrne, when he was retired in 2010. His trainer Dessie Hughes — who won the Champion Hurdle as both a trainer and jockey — died in November.
“Dessie was enormously proud of his Champion Hurdle hero and it was his wish that Hardy Eustace would come to the stud to enjoy his retirement,” said a spokesman from the Irish Stud.
The new arrivals will join multiple National Hunt Grade One winner Beef Or Salmon, 2005 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Kicking King and Tingle Creek Chase winner Moscow Flyer.
“The ‘Living Legends’ are a great feature of our visitor experience, where their heroic exploits on the track are recounted to thousands of visitors from around the globe each year,” added the spokesman.
The Irish National Stud was created in 1915 under the leadership of Sir Henry Geer. Based in the heart of Kildare and 45 minutes from Dublin, it can be enjoyed as part of a guided tour or at leisure.
Visitors will also be able to see the 56 newborn foals born already this year, with 200 more expected in the coming months.