Victory Gunner in his box with trainer Richard Lee
PICTURE: David Dew (racingpost.com/photos)
JUMP racing’s elder statesman has seen the racecourse for the final time following the retirement of Victory Gunner at the age of 17.
The winner of 14 races from 83 starts, the Richard Lee-trained chaser would have bowed out at Ffos Las on Saturday, but the mud-lover was denied his swansong when the rain failed to arrive.
Victory Gunner joined Lee in November 2010 from Craig Roberts since when he won five times for the stable, most recently in March 2013 at Chepstow, his fifth success at the track.
Lee’s daughter and assistant Kerry said: “It is a sad day, but we just got to a point where we can’t really carry on any more because, as happens to everybody, old age has just caught up with him.
“He was in training until Friday and we would have run him at Ffos Las had conditions suited, but he’s got to have soft or heavy ground. He was all wrong when he last ran at Lingfield in February and we have given him every chance to run again, but although we tried to make it so the right track, trip and conditions all came up at once, it just didn’t happen for him.”
Plans have still to be finalised for Victory Gunner’s retirement, but it is likely he will see out his days at the home of his co-owner Bridget Ayres in South Wales.
Kerry Lee added: “If every horse had as much zest for life as Victory Gunner the job would be so easy. It has been great to have him around the place and we will miss him desperately. He has been absolute star.”
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