Trainer Evan Williams called time on the career of stable stalwart Buywise after he was pulled up at Exeter on Friday.
Bought out of Iain Jardine’s yard for the relatively modest sum of £21,000 six years ago, the 12-year-old has been a terrific servant to his connections – winning seven times, including the Grade Two Silver Trophy at Cheltenham in 2014.
Following a near three-year winless streak, Buywise rolled back the years to land a veterans’ chase at Sandown in January of last year.
However, he suffered a heavy fall when looking set to go close last month and having failed to fire in two starts since, Williams believes it is only fair to give his charge a well-earned retirement.
“He’s been a great horse for us and we’ve had so many good days with him over the years. Unfortunately he had that heavy fall at Sandown and I think we knew we were in trouble a few days after that,” said the Llancarfan-based trainer.
“We’ve taken him hunting and things like that, but he just hasn’t been the same horse mentally since that fall.
“We said we’d give him a couple of spins over hurdles to see if that would motivate him, but it hasn’t and we don’t want to humiliate him any more.
“He won a Graded race at Cheltenham for us and it was great to see him win that veterans’ chase last year. That’s what’s great about those veterans’ chases – they give those older horses another roll of the dice.”
Buywise’s victories were supplemented by some tremendous efforts in defeat – most notably charging home to finish a half-length second in the 2015 Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham, placing third in the same race the following year and finishing third in a Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster.
Williams added: “He was placed in a lot of big races at Cheltenham and funnily enough he’s probably better known for his defeats than his victories, but that doesn’t matter to us – at least he’s known for something.
“People love those old horses like him and that is what National Hunt racing is all about.
“He’ll stay with us and we’ll make sure he has a long and happy retirement.
“You don’t realise how lucky you are sometimes until it’s all over, but I know we have been very lucky to have a horse like him.”