Take Cover’s retirement ‘deserved’

David Griffiths with his now retired stable star Take Cover.
David Griffiths with his now retired stable star Take Cover.
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OWNER Andrew Hollis has paid tribute to Yorkshire sprinter Take Cover after deciding to retire his horse of a lifetime.

He made the announcement after the David Griffiths-trained colt was a gutsy second to Richard Fahey’s Mr Lupton in the Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes at Newbury.

Only the unsuitably heavy ground denied Take Cover a farewell win – the 11-year-old led for most of the way in this five furlong test before being overhauled by Mr Lupton in the closing stages.

“He has done us proud,” said Hollis. “I couldn’t ask him to come back again (next season). David has done an amazing job with him, keeping him going at this age.

“He has run well today – it’s not his ground, but he just tries and tries.

“He comes home safe and sound that is important, too. He has got a plenty of half-brothers and sisters to go into training.

“He will definitely retire today. Hopefully, I can breed another one like him one day. I think when he won both those two races at Goodwood (King George Stakes in 2014 and 2016), they were the best two days. He is the best one I’ve bred. He will just retire and hopefully enjoy himself in the paddock.”

The winner of 15 out of 49 races, the front-running Take Cover accrued over £750,000 of prize money for Hollis and his Mansfield-based Norcroft Park Stud.

As well as two King George Stakes, Take Cover landed a second successive Beverley Bullet earlier this month.

Unlucky not to have won a deserved Group One, the horse has been nurtured by Bawtry-based Griffiths and his wife Sophie who described their stable star as her “best friend”.

“He has been brilliant. To keep at that level and winning Group Twos, Threes and Listed races for that long is great,” said the trainer.

Asked for a favourite memory, Griffiths said: “Probably the second King George when he beat Washington DC and the good horse of Rob Cowell’s (Goldream) in a three-way photo, as everything was right that day.”

Meanwhile, in form Leyburn trainer Karl Burke was far from disheartened by True Mason’s defeat under jockey Ben Curtis to the John Gosden-trained and Frankie Dettori-ridden Kessaar in the Mill Reef Stakes at the rain-sodden Berkshire track.

A race that has a reputation for producing future stars, Burke has his eye on Ascot’s Group Three Cornwallis Stakes.

“True Mason is a high-class colt and he loves that ground. He just got outstayed by a better stayer,” he said. “Ben thought it was a matter of how far, and so did I, but he just couldn’t get away from Kessaar and then in the last half furlong he’s gone away from us.

“The Cornwallis looks the ideal race for him now. It would be nice to win a Group race before we put him away for the winter.”

Son Of Rest, trained in Ireland by Fozzy Stack, dead-heated wihth Paul Cole’s Baron Bolt in a thrilling finish to the Ayr Gold Cup – the only time there’s been such an outcome in a race first held in 1804.