'He can stay here as long as he lives' – Tizzard pays tribute to Cue Card
Cue Card, one of jump racing's biggest and most popular names, has been retired.
The 12-year-old, trained by Colin Tizzard for Jean Bishop, was due to sign off at Sandown next week, but that plan has been scrapped.
Tizzard told the Racing Post it was not a difficult to decision to retire his star chaser.
"In the end he wasn't showing the sparkle he'd shown," he said on Tuesday. "It was a lovely decision to make. He's fit and sound. It's a weight off my mind. It would have been too big a call to race him again.
"He has been a fantastic horse all the way round. He cantered this morning and jumped. I kept looking at him and thought this is not the Cue Card we know.
"He had a hard race the other day and in any other year we would have turned him out and had him in next season. It's a lovely time to retire him."
A shock 40-1 winner of the Champion Bumper at the 2010 Cheltenham Festival, the son of King's Theatre landed the Ryanair Chase three years later and has also won three Betfair Chases and a King George VI Chase, but he suffered the first of two heartbreaking Gold Cup falls when in contention in 2016.
He was last seen being pulled up in the Ryanair at last month's Cheltenham festival, but he brought his connections many fabulous memories and played a pivotal role in establishing Tizzard as a major training force.
"The best memory and the longest lasting one was the Champion Bumper," said Tizzard.
"When he came down the hill in that Champion Bumper with three furlongs to run, I will never forget that for the rest of my life. He sluiced into it and sluiced away from them. It was fantastic.
Cue Card in numbers
£1,447,454 earned in prize-money
180 best Racing Post Rating
40-1 price at which he won the 2010 Champion Bumper
7 appearances at the Cheltenham Festival
3 Betfair Chase triumphs
5 jockeys (Paddy Brennan, Joe Tizzard, Daryl Jacob, Aidan Coleman, Harry Cobden)
"He set up my career, he's been the flagbearer. To be fair to him he's paid for a lot of these new buildings that are going up. He's done everything for all of us.
"He is 12 and he was still very good at Ascot, but time is catching up. He won't leave the farm, he's going to stay here. I am going to ride him round a bit to keep him active. He can stay here as long as he lives."
The £1,147,454 accumulated by Cue Card since his 41-race career began in January 2010 places him in the top ten in terms of prize-money won by jumpers trained in Europe.
LEADING EUROPEAN-TRAINED JUMP HORSES BY PRIZE-MONEY WON (£)
Mid Dancer 2,660,068
Kauto Star 2,375,883
Hurricane Fly 1,861,015
Milord Thomas 1,771,507
Remember Rose 1,643,326
Rubi Ball 1,579,574
Long Run 1,542,715
Shannon Rock 1,534,449
Cue Card 1,447,454
You can pre-order Cue Card: A Tribute to a Special Horse from the Racing Post shop now
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Don't miss your fantastic eight-page souvenir pullout on Cue Card and his career in Wednesday's Racing Post