By Simon Mapletoft
Captain Lars will run the final race of a colourful career when he contests the Roofcare (North Staffs) Ltd Claiming Stakes at Wolverhampton on Tuesday.
It will be the nine-year-old‘s 99th race in a career that began in South Africa seven years ago this month.
Since then the gelding has gone on to win 24 races, including in Listed company in his native country, and in 2018 became the joint-winning most horse in the All-Weather Championships.
Paying tribute to the gelding he claimed for just £7,000 at Lingfield Park in February 2018, his trainer Archie Watson said: “Captain Lars has been an absolute star for us, winning 11 times – 10 of those coming within a year.
“He’s become such a yard favourite but I just feel the time has come to call it a day while he’s still sound and able to enjoy life. We are already looking forward to re-homing him so that he can enjoy a well deserved retirement.”
Captain Lars won five races for top South African trainer Mike De Kock, including the Listed Drum Star Handicap over nine furlongs on soft ground at Turffontein for leading international owner Malih Al Basti in March 2014.
Then followed brief spells in Britain with Ken Cunningham-Brown and Michael Bell before he was claimed by Derek Shaw, who won a further six times with him in just under two years.
But it was upon his arrival at Saxon Gate that the popular son of Captain Al enjoyed his most productive time, racing mainly over five furlongs.
His winning streak included two hat-tricks and whilst he often plied his trade in sellers and claimers, he was competitive enough to win a Class 4 handicap at Lingfield in November off a mark of 84.
However, he will be best remembered for sharing the title for the most wins on the All-Weather in Championships Season 5 with Spare Parts – a remarkable seven.
Of his 24 wins, 16 have been achieved on the All-Weather and he has the distinction of winning on Fibresand, Polytrack and Tapeta. A total of 16 different jockeys have partnered him to those successes, which have yielded close to £140,000 in prize money.
What a fitting end it would be if he could bow out at Wolverhampton with a 25th career victory.