|Friday 13th December 2013|
Binocular, 2010 Champion Hurdle Winner, Has Retired
Champion trainer, Nicky Henderson, has announced that the popular hurdler, Binocular, winner of the 2010 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle, has been retired after being found to be suffering from a heart condition.
The nine-year-old son of Enrique had failed to recapture his best form in recent seasons and Henderson now believes that the heart condition, which had proved difficult to detect, was almost certainly the underlying reason why the JP McManus-owned star failed to return to his best form in recent starts.
The winner of 11 of his 22 races, and a popular figure with fans of racing live betting, Binocular began his career on the Flat in France with trainer Elie Lellouche before being purchased by McManus in January 2008, immediately joining the Henderson string at Seven Barrows.
Successful in three of his first four starts as a four-year-old, Binocular’s only defeat in his first season over timber came when runner-up to Captain Cee Bee in the Grade 1 Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. He soon resumed winning ways by scoring in top company at the Aintree Festival a few weeks later.
Beaten just half-a-length by stable companion, Punjabi, in a three-way finish to the 2009 Champion Hurdle, the high-class performer returned to Cheltenham 12 months later and made no mistake in beating Khyber Kim by three-and-a-half lengths.
He failed to make it to the Festival to defend his crown as the first signs of training problems appeared, and while he justified his short racing betting odds by winning the 2010 and 2011 renewals of the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, Binocular never appeared quite as good as he had been back in 2010.
"When he was right he was a very good horse, absolutely bang top class," Henderson told the Racing Post. "He won a Champion Hurdle and probably should have won three."