Take Cover ran a gallant race in defeat on what owner Andrew Hollis is adamant was his final start after finding Mr Lupton too good in the Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes at Newbury.
The dual Group Two-winning 11-year-old has enjoyed a hugely successful career, which began at Southwell in October 2011, and went down fighting in the Group Three contest he was attempting to win for the second year in succession.
Adopting his customary front-running role, the David Griffiths-trained Singspiel gelding was only picked off late on in the five-furlong contest by the Richard Fahey-trained winner, with three-quarters of a length separating the pair at the line.
Hollis said: “He has done us proud. I couldn’t ask him to come back again (next season). David has done an amazing job with him, keeping him going at this age.
“He has run well today – it’s not his ground, but he just tries and tries. He comes home safe and sound that is important, too. He has got a plenty of half-brothers and sisters to go into training.
“He will definitely retire today. Hopefully I can breed another one like him one day.
“I think when he won both those two races at Goodwood (King George Stakes in 2014 and 2016), they were the best two days.
“He is the best one I’ve bred. He will just retire and hopefully enjoy himself in the paddock.”
However, while Hollis feels the time is right to call time on the career of Take Cover, Bawtry handler Griffiths hopes he can work his magic and persuade him to keep going for a little while longer.
He said: “The jury is still out on retirement. I will keep pestering him all winter, even though he is adamant now.
“He has been brilliant. To keep at that level and winning Group Twos, Threes and Listed races for that long is great.”
Asked for a favourite memory, Griffiths said: “Probably the second King George when he beat Washington DC and the good horse of Rob Cowell’s (Goldream) in a three-way photo, as everything was right that day.
“He has run brilliantly with the ground like that, but hopefully it’s not the last time. If he does go this time, he owes us nothing and he will be hard to replace.”
As for 11-4 favourite Mr Lupton, winning rider Gerald Mosse felt he had the race under control from a long way out.
He said: “I rode him once quite a while ago and he won at Newmarket, but I’ve not had the chance to ride him since.
“It was soft ground this time and a stronger race, but he still performed. He travelled all the way and I had the race in hand from halfway.
“I was thinking ‘just wait for my time to press on’.”