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End of an era! Faugheen, Douvan and Benie Des Dieux are retired

Sat 8 May 2021

Eleven-times Grade One winner Faugheen, one of the most popular jumpers in training in recent years, has been retired, The Sun has reported.

Owners Rich and Susannah Ricci have called time on the horse's career along with two other outstanding performers to have carried their colours, Douvan and Benie Des Dieux.

Despite injury repeatedly interrupting his career, Faugheen maintained his talent and enthusiasm, including when going down with all guns blazing in a blanket finish on his final start behind Samcro and Melon at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival as a 12-year-old.

What a career! Happy retirement to the brilliant Faugheen

He bagged two victories at that meeting and his tally would surely have been more had the path proved a little less bumpy in the final years of his career in the care of trainer Willie Mullins.

Douvan was last seen bolting up in the Clonmel Oil Chase in 2019 on his first start for 569 days. The star chaser also endurd a lengthy lay-off after finishing seventh behind Special Tiara, when sent off the 2-9 favourite, in the 2017 Champion Chase, and was found to be lame post-race.

Like Faugheen, Benie Des Dieux's final appaerance was at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival where she found only the might Honeysuckle too good in the Mares' Hurdle.

Ricci's star mare landed the Grade One contest in 2018, and was unlucky not to make it back-to-back victories the following year when falling at the last.

Ricci told Matt Chapman in The Sun: “Faugheen meant a lot to Susannah, our son George and me.

“He was also the favourite horse of my nephew Peter and was the impetus of his falling in love with the sport.

“Not always the most elegant at a hurdle or a fence, he was a trier and knew he was a dude.

“My favourite memory was of his Grade 1 Novice Chase win at the 2020 Dublin Racing Festival. The noise and the sprinting of the crowd to the parade ring was something I will never forget.

“My indelible memories of Faugheen however will always be of the great horse and his groom John Codd. You never saw one without the other.

“As great a trainer as Willie is and as impressive the record of the jockeys that rode him, surely John deserves a huge amount of credit for his longevity and success.

“We have been blessed to have owned some special horses but Faugheen will always have a special place amongst them.”

The trio won 23 Grade Ones between them, a figure which would have surely been higher had they all avoided injury.

Faugheen

Races: 26.

Wins: 17.

Places: 5.

Prize-money: £1,116,679.

Grade Ones: 11.

Douvan

Races: 19.

Wins: 15.

Places: 2.

Prize-money: £609,835.

Grade Ones: 8.

Benie Des Dieux

Races: 19.

Wins: 11.

Places: 3.

Prize-money: £483,893.

Grade Ones: 4.

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