Emotions may have been kept to a minimum, but that did not prevent trainer Colin Tizzard from looking back at the career of Cue Card with a sense of pride at Sandown Park.
While the admirable 12-year-old was denied one last hurrah in racecourse action, the nine-times Grade One winner was given a warm reception by those gathered around the parade ring at the Esher track, as he paraded with the stars of the 2017/18 National Hunt season.
Tizzard said: “Watching him walk around with the likes of Might Bite and Native River, they are in their pomp and he did walk around like he was a little old man really. That is no disrespect to him.
“It gave me immense pleasure to watch everyone here enjoy him for what he has done, for his longevity. It’s not like he has been here one or two years and gone. He has been doing his stuff at the top level for eight seasons, it’s brilliant.
“I’m not emotional on this one, I’m just chuffed. We’ve had him through his racing career and we’ve got him here to take home. We’ve got to give him respect. He has had a couple of crushers (falls) at Cheltenham and he has come through that.”
Although the Jean Bishop-owned gelding’s last appearance resulted in him pulling up in the Ryanair Chase at last month’s Cheltenham Festival, the Milborne Port handler feels he made the right call to resist the temptation of running him in the bet365 Oaksey Chase.
Tizzard added: “He has just shown us in the last six weeks that he has started to feel old with it. He just wasn’t what he was. I’m glad we didn’t make any foolish decisions to run him.
“I stood with him last week after he galloped and jumped and he was blowing harder than he does and I thought ‘this isn’t right’, so we’ve got to stop. I stood there and thought ‘we can’t do it’. I told Jean and it was a relief off my mind.
“You see him walk round fine and he is happy, but he is 12 now and it has caught up a bit.
“I’m chuffed we’ve looked after him and he can stay at Venn Farm the rest of his life.”