Binocular (left) winning Champion Hurdle in 2010PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Heart problem forces Binocular into retirement
BINOCULAR, winner of the 2010 Champion Hurdle, has been retired after he was diagnosed with a heart problem which trainer Nicky Henderson said went some way to explaining the nine-year-old's below-par performances last season.
The JP McManus-owned hurdler, last seen finishing 28 lengths behind Hurricane Fly in this year's Champion Hurdle in one of only two starts last term, had not returned to training this season while he underwent further veterinary examination in Ireland.
Henderson said: "Extensive tests have been done on him and it appears he has a heart issue that is not going away so the decision was taken to retire him. I think you would have to conclude that there was something underlying that we couldn't detect that would easily explain some of last season's performances."
Binocular won 11 of his 22 starts over hurdles, four at Grade 1 level including two victories in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton and the Champion Hurdle in which he beat Khyber Kim. His last win came in the 2012 Kingwell Hurdle and he earned his connections £797,648 in prize-money.
"When he was right he was a very good horse, absolutely bang top class," Henderson added. "He won a Champion Hurdle and probably should have won three."
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