Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth has celebrated his 15th birthday with a visit from his former trainer Nicky Henderson.
Foaled in Ireland on 21 May 2005, he won the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle in 2011 and the RSA Chase in 2012 before his 2013 Gold Cup victory, achieving the rare feat of winning three different races at consecutive Cheltenham Festivals. He also won the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury in 2012.
He retired to Tracy and Charlie Vigor’s Hillwood Stud in Aldbourne, Wilts, four years ago, still owned by his syndicate of Malcolm and Jane Kimmins, John Jarvis, Carol Wells and Nick Deacon.
“He has been coming to us since he started training and since he retired he’s been here full time,” said Tracy, who boards Nicky’s horses for their summer holidays.
The Bob Back x King’s Theatre gelding is now enjoying a second career accompanying Tracy’s two children Oliver, eight, and Harry, 10, on hacks.
“He’s the best nanny ever, he canters with them everywhere and has never batted an eyelid. We live on quite a big, open estate and deer jump out and he’s not bothered — he can be bothered by a daffodil but a big tractor or a herd of deer and he’s fine.
“He’s quite an intelligent, very laid back horse, who is always happy,” she added. “He never has an ear back and he’s one of the only horses on the yard I allow boys to go in on their own with — he never has any of those little moments.”
Bob also hunted with the Vine and Craven with Charlie when he first retired and has been cross-country schooling. He also took part in a “mock hunt” on Nicky’s gallops last Christmas, where he was reunited with his old racing companion Hunt Ball.
“We compete quite a lot with the boys now they are older so we don’t have as much time to take him out but he was absolutely brilliant, he followed the hounds, stood still and did everything you needed,” Tracy said. “He preferred the hedges to the barrels cross country, but he happily popped over the ditches and banks.”
‘You’d have thought at the age of 30 he would have mellowed but not a bit of it!’
There ain’t no party like an Arko party...
He is also a welcome companion on the yard, where he can be turned out with any of the other horses who are on their holidays.
“He never causes any fuss in the field, he likes to interact but never causes a fight, he’s so easy to have around. Both my boys can bring him in, he’s so nice,” Tracy added.
Bob remains a favourite with both his trainer and his owners.
“He’s a joy to have around and he makes a lot of people happy — Nicky came to see him yesterday (20 May) and it’s clear everyone loves him still. Whenever Nicky visits he wants to see Bob.
“His owners are always asking for updates. This is the longest they will have gone without seeing him [because of lockdown], but I have sent them a lot of pictures,” she said.
We continue to publish Horse & Hound magazine weekly during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as keeping horseandhound.co.uk up to date with all the breaking news, features and more. Click here for info about magazine subscriptions (six issues for £6) and access to our premium H&H Plus content online.