Bonfire (light blue): will return to training next year after being geldedPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Gelded Bonfire ruled out for the rest of the season
BONFIRE, winner of the Group 2 Betfred Dante Stakes in May before disappointing in the Investec Derby and Coral-Eclipse, has been gelded and will miss the rest of the season.
Andrew Balding's three-year-old lit up the Knavesmire with a
commanding performance on his seasonal reappearance, but has failed to reproduce that form in Group 1 company since.
Harry Herbert, manager director of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, the owners of Bonfire, said on Wednesday: "He was gelded yesterday. We're trying to do what's best for the horse and to get him back to the animal we know he is.
Harry Herbert: said it made sense to allow Bonfire time to developPICTURE: Mark Cranham
"He had to have one testicle removed as a two-year-old and it's quite possible he still had an issue with the remaining testicle.
"We felt he was going the wrong way. At Sandown he pulled, and never seemed happy.
"Bonfire is going through a growing phase, and appears a bit weak at the moment.
"He is just a shell of a horse. We sat down with Andrew and
had a chat and decided it would make sense to geld him, give him the rest of the year off and allow him the time he needs to develop and mature."
Bonfire will return as a four-year-old in 2013 and Herbert remains full of hope he can give "all his owners a huge amount of fun both at home and abroad".