GRAND National winner Rule The World has been retired.
The Mouse Morris-trained nine-year-old became the first novice to win the great race since 1958 when conquering Aintree under teenage jockey David Mullins.
It was also the horse’s first win over fences, but the exertions did take their toll – Rule The World was sixth when running in a novice chase at Punchestown at the end of last month.
Having twice fractured his pelvis in his younger days, connections felt it would be asking too much of the horse to continue under big weights in handicaps.
He completed a great 2015-16 season for his owners, Gigginstown House Stud, who also landed the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Don Cossack.
Eddie O’Leary, racing manager for Gigginstown, said: “He’s been a fantastic horse.
“He’s perfectly sound, which is the main thing, but because of his previous pelvic injuries, we didn’t want to send him back to Aintree with a big weight, that wouldn’t have been fair on him.”
Meanwhile the 2008 National winner Comply Or Die, trained by David Pipe and ridden by Timmy Murphy, died over the weekend, aged 17.
“He gave me the greatest day of my career,” said the jockey.
Narrowly beaten a head in last year’s Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes, Tim Easterby hopes Mattmu can go one better in today’s six-furlong sprint provided the ground is not too quick.
Mattmu was only narrowly beaten at Newmarket last month by Magical Memory and Tupi, two of the leading contenders for this prestigious prize. “He ran a super race, we were really pleased with him,” said Great Habton-based Easterby.
“The ground suited, because obviously he has to have a bit of juice, so we’re always mindful of that. It’s our aim to run, but if I decide the ground is too quick we might not run, we’ll see how we go. He’s a much stronger horse this year, he’s a proper horse.”
However Newark trainer Mick Appleby could not be more bullish about Danzeno’s chances – especially if the ground dries out.
Third to Muhaarar in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot in October, Appleby said: “Looking at the race, I think we’re the one to beat. As long as it stays on the quick side of good, it would be perfect for him. I’ve always said he’s going to be better when he’s five and six, so I think it might be his best couple of years now.”
Epsom Derby ante-post favourite Midterm will put his Classic credentials on the line in tomorrow’s Betfred Dante Stakes. The son of Galileo took his unbeaten record to two when making a successful seasonal debut at Sandown last month.
However, this Group Two contest will be a much stiffer test and the Sir Michael Stoute-trained colt has not frightened away the opposition as 11 rivals are set to take him on. They include Kentuckyconnection who was fifth in the 2000 Guineas for Hambleton trainer Bryan Smart.
BIRCHWOOD is set to line up in Sunday’s French 2000 Guineas at Deauville for Malton trainer Richard Fahey. Bought by Godolphin after winning his first two outings, he went on to run with credit in the Vintage Stakes behind Galileo Gold who won last month’s English 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.