Nicky Richards pays tribute to Guitar Pete as 'absolute star' is retired
Nicky Richards has called time on the career of his classy chaser and Grade 1 hurdle winner Guitar Pete after the popular grey ran below expectations when beating just one home at Kelso on Monday.
The 11-year-old, who won nine of his 55 outings and nearly £350,000 in prize-money, was a stalwart across all disciplines after starting out on the Flat as a three-year-old at Navan in 2013 when trained by Dessie Hughes.
After cutting little ice on the Flat, Guitar Pete was on song first time over hurdles when scoring at Listowel later that year before going on to Grade 1 glory in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown.
That effort earned him a crack at the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in which he finished third behind Tiger Roll before scoring again at the highest level at Aintree the following month.
After switching to Hughes' daughter Sandra, Guitar Pete performed well over fences before joining Richards in 2017.
He said: "After consultation with his owners Mr and Mrs Sloan the decision has been taken to retire Guitar Pete. We had a chat after he'd run at Kelso on Monday following which Brian Hughes got off him and said he might need his wind looking at.
"We didn't think it was fair to give him a wind operation at his time of life and then see him dwindle down the ratings as he owes nobody anything.
"You don't get many that start out as a three-year-old over hurdles and are still going over fences at 11. He's finishing in one piece which is all you can ask for and I take my hat off to him as he's been an absolute star for everybody involved."
Guitar Pete won on three occasions and was placed eight times in his 25 starts for Richards, most notably when landing the Grade 3 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December 2017.
Richards added: "He'd won two Grade 1 hurdles in Ireland before he joined me and one of his best days for us was when he won the Grade 3 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham when he beat Clan Des Obeaux.
"I don't know where he's going just yet but he'll be found a lovely home somewhere as he deserves it."