Time has been called on the racing career of Tom George’s admirable veteran God’s Own.
During a career spanning seven years, the 11-year-old won eight races and well over £600,000 in win and place prize-money.
God’s Own claimed three Grade One victories – with triumphs in the Ryanair Novice Chase and the Boylesports Champion Chase at the Punchestown Festival sandwiching top-level success in the 2016 Melling Chase at Aintree.
He was last seen finishing fifth of six runners when bidding for a third victory in last month’s Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter.
Speaking on his website www.tomgeorgeracing.co.uk, the trainer said: “The decision has been made to retire God’s Own. He’s been a fantastic horse for us and his owners, the Crossed Fingers Partnership, and we’re delighted we’ve been able to call it a day with him while he’s healthy and sound.
“It’s quite fitting his last run was in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter, a race he had won in 2014 and again last year. They were great days and his three Grade One wins – two at the Punchestown Festival and one at Aintree’s Grand National meeting – are treasured by all of us.
“In all, he won eight races and was placed a further 19 times, including in six Grade Ones. He retires having won a total of more than £625,000 in prize-money.
“Basil, as he is known around the yard, was runner-up behind Un De Sceaux in the Arkle Trophy at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival and he went on to finish third, fourth and fifth in the Champion Chase.
“It was only in April that he finished third – five lengths behind Altior – at Sandown on the final day of the season.”
George revealed the prevailing testing conditions have led to him retiring God’s Own earlier than he might have done otherwise.
He added: “He’s still capable of running in the top two-mile races, but he will officially turn 12 on New Year’s Day.
“With the recent wet weather meaning he’s unlikely to get his favoured good ground this winter, it would not be fair to ask him take on the younger generation with conditions against him.
“It’s been a pleasure to have Basil at Down Farm for more than seven years and we’re delighted he’s been found the best home for his retirement.
“He will spend the rest of winter here at Down Farm before going off to live with his regular work rider Sherrie-Anne Derrick. She has ridden him almost every day he’s been here, so we know he will live the life of luxury he deserves in his old age.”