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Gambino

Black Jack Retired

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Sad to see my favourite horse now retired in what should of been his prime, but probably a good thing after all these good horses having fatalities.BLACK JACK KETCHUM, whose ability seemed to desert him when he was on the cusp of stardom, has been retired, trainer Jonjo O'Neill revealed on Tuesday.Owned by Gay and Derrick Smith, the nine-year-old netted over £200,000 in prize-money by winning nine of his 14 career starts for O'Neill, including the Brit Insurance Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and the Grade 1 Sefton Novices' Hurdle at Aintree two years ago.O'Neill said on Tuesday night: “He was a brilliant servant to the yard and a super little horse who will be very hard to replace, as good horses like him do not come along every day“He remains in good form at home but is not showing the same sparkle at the course this season and, after talking it over with Gay and her husband Derrick, we have decided the fairest thing to do is retire him.“We had hoped he would run at Aintree this week, where he has won before, but that is off his agenda now and he will spend his well-earnedretirement at the Smiths' farm in Barbados.”Black Jack Ketchum had not been seen in public since pulling up in muddy conditions at Cheltenham on New Year's Day and his sole win since taking a crashing fall in the 2007 World Hurdle was in a Grade 2 atWetherby last November.He made his debut for O'Neill when winning a bumper at Worcester in June 2004 and remained unbeaten in his next seven outings, which included the high-profile successes at Cheltenham and Aintree. O'Neill added of his one-time stable star: “He just did not seem to be enjoying it any more and the last thing Gay and Derrick wanted to see was him slogging around after he had given them so much fun in winning all those races.”The rise and fall of Black Jack Ketchum>> ‘‘My face could have been broken to bits and I would have come out to ride this lad. I love this little horse”Tony McCoy, who had suffered a facial injury in a fall in a previous race, on returning from winning aboard Black Jack Ketchum in December 2005>> ‘‘Without a doubt he's the best horse I ever trained”Jonjo O'Neill after winning the 2006 Sefton Novices' Hurdle at Aintree>> ‘‘Of all the things that could happen to him, I have to be honest, that one did not cross my mind”O'Neill is left to contemplate an early fall in the 2007 World Hurdle>> ‘‘I certainly wouldn't like to be getting on any other horse in the stayers' hurdle. I'll be sticking with him for a bit”McCoy after finishing fifth in the 2007 Cleeve Hurdle>> ‘‘Black Jack has lost his way totally”O'Neill after Black Jack is pulled up on his last run, at Cheltenham on New Year's Day

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