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Ex-Gold Cup hero Celeric is retired; Owner Spence calls it a day after gelding's Ascot failure.

CELERIC, one of the most popular stayers of recent years and winner of the Ascot Gold Cup in 1997, has been retired after another lacklustre effort behind Kayf Tara in Thursday's renewal, in which he finished ninth of the 11 runners.

Revealing the news yesterday, the gelding's owner Christopher Spence said: "He's given us more fun than you could ever imagine, and we've been very lucky to have had him.

"The highlight was winning the Ascot Gold Cup, but Celeric won 13 races in a style that thrilled his connections and the crowds. David Morley made him and John Dunlop continued the good work."

Part of Celeric's popularity stemmed from his turn of foot, not a feature normally associated with stayers. Invariably ridden from off the pace, Celeric was capable of scything down his rivals with a gripping finishing burst. It helped him to win five Pattern races.

Spence, the Jockey Club's senior steward, added: "Celeric has been wonderful and is very well in himself, but in the Gold Cup he was giving us the message he had raced enough.

"He'll come home until we decide where he'll spend his retirement."

The eight-year-old son of Mtoto was trained by Morley, Spence's brother-in-law, until the trainer's death in January 1998, when Celeric was moved from Newmarket to Dunlop's stable in Arundel.

Dunlop said: "Celeric was a wonderful character and a lovely horse to have at home. There was always a buck and a kick in the morning, and he wasn't the easiest of rides, but we had great fun with him last year, when he won the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot and Lonsdale Stakes at York.

"I think maybe he has lost a bit of his enthusiasm, and it's sensible to retire him."

Willie Carson was often seen to great effect on Celeric before his retirement, after which Pat Eddery became his regular partner. It was Eddery who was on board when Celeric beat Classic Clich in the 1997 Gold Cup.

Eddery welcomed the decision to retire Celeric. He said: "I'm pleased. It's the right

decision and Celeric deserves it. I hope he has a nice retirement.

"He's always been a great ride, and on his best days he was a really good racehorse with a great turn of foot."
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Ashforth, David
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 24, 2000
Previous Article:Mark Johnston: Only in the Racing Post: Train must arrive on time.
Next Article:Ex-judge Hancock dies after crash.

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