Popular veteran Cue Card has been retired, assistant trainer Joe Tizzard has announced.
The 12-year-old had been due to make a final appearance in the bet365 Oaksey Chase at Sandown on April 28th, but he has failed to sparkle since being pulled up in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
“We’ve taken the decision this morning to retire Cue Card. He wasn’t working quite as well as he can and we didn’t want to take him to Sandown if we weren’t 100% happy with him,” Tizzard told Coral.
The 2015 King George winner, who has been on the go since his four-year-old season, will now be paraded at Sandown on the final day of the National Hunt season.
Tizzard added: “We will still take him to Sandown to parade him, and to celebrate a great career. He has been an incredible horse for us and now he can look forward to a new chapter in his life.”
Cue Card first hit the headlines when winning the Champion Bumper at the Festival in 2010 before lifting a Grade Two novice hurdle and being placed at both Cheltenham and Aintree the following season.
However, he really came into his own as a chaser, winning twice as a novice before landing the Haldon Gold Cup, Ascot Chase and Ryanair Chase in his first full season over fences.
Stepped up in trip for the 2013-14 campaign, he won the Betfair Chase at Haydock for the first time — a race he would claim on a further two occasions in his career.
He was at his best in the 2015-16 season, though, when he won the Charlie Hall at Wetherby and the Betfair Chase before adding the King George at Kempton after a thrilling battle with Vautour.
Heading to the 2016 Gold Cup, he was the 5-2 joint-favourite and on the verge of a £1 million Triple Crown bonus, but he fell three fences from home when still travelling well.
Cue Card’s last win came in the Ascot Chase in February 2017 and he bows out having won 16 of his 41 races, nine at Grade One level, with almost £1.5 million in prize money to his name.