The likeable God's Own for trainer Tom George has been retired by his connections just before his 12th birthday on New Year's Day with the decision to do so being a very hard one for everyone involved with the horse.
The now 11 year old racked up over £600,000 in prize money during his successful career which saw him land eight races including three Grade One victories.
His three black type wins came in the Ryanair Novice Chase and the Boylesports Champion Chase at the Punchestown Festival with his latest and arguably best win of his career coming in 2016 in the Melling Chase at Aintree during the Grand National meeting.
God's Own final race came on his seasonal debut this season at Exeter in the Grade Two Haldon Cup, a contest he has previously landed twice in his career but he could only finish fifth if six runners and it was probably then that time needed to be called on his racing adventure.
Speaking on his website www.tomgeorgeracing.co.uk, the trainer said: “The decision has been made to retire God’s Own. He’s been a fantastic horse for us and his owners, the Crossed Fingers Partnership, and we’re delighted we’ve been able to call it a day with him while he’s healthy and sound.
“It’s quite fitting his last run was in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter, a race he had won in 2014 and again last year. They were great days and his three Grade One wins – two at the Punchestown Festival and one at Aintree’s Grand National meeting – are treasured by all of us.
“In all, he won eight races and was placed a further 19 times, including in six Grade Ones. He retires having won a total of more than £625,000 in prize-money.
“Basil, as he is known around the yard, was runner-up behind Un De Sceaux in the Arkle Trophy at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival and he went on to finish third, fourth and fifth in the Champion Chase.
“It was only in April that he finished third – five lengths behind Altior – at Sandown on the final day of the season.”
Tom George has said that he could still race and probably finish out the season in some decent contests but with the weather being wetter this season it has seen testing conditions throughout the season which do not play to the strengths of the gelding.
He added: “He’s still capable of running in the top two-mile races, but he will officially turn 12 on New Year’s Day.“With the recent wet weather meaning he’s unlikely to get his favoured good ground this winter, it would not be fair to ask him take on the younger generation with conditions against him.
“It’s been a pleasure to have Basil at Down Farm for more than seven years and we’re delighted he’s been found the best home for his retirement.
“He will spend the rest of winter here at Down Farm before going off to live with his regular work rider Sherrie-Anne Derrick. She has ridden him almost every day he’s been here, so we know he will live the life of luxury he deserves in his old age.”