AS you all know a decision has been made to retire dear Buveur D’Air and while it is extremely sad that his career on the track has now come to an end, it is in his best interests and we have no doubt reached the correct conclusion.

It all goes back to the G1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle in 2019 when he managed to get a six inch piece of wood wedged into his hoof, and you’ve all seen the amazing photograph of it sticking out, so to get him back racing again was an achievement in itself and testament to Buveur D’Air himself who was a model patient.

The vets did a marvellous job and there were literally hundreds of splinters in his foot and they had to get out every single one which was a massive challenge but they managed to do it and get him back to us, but we were always facing small issues because he was never entirely happy on it. He was never lame, but it would be a bit like you and I having a stone stuck in our shoe which is rather uncomfortable.

The plan was to run him at Tipperary’s big meeting next month and he was in full training and going well but not quite as well as everything used to be, and it was clear that his foot was still giving him problems which is why we made the decision when we did because he’s not getting any younger and our only concern is his welfare.

He ends his time on the track the winner of 17 of his 27 races, eight of which were Grade Ones, and earnings of over £1.2 million which is a marvellous achievement. There are so many highlights to choose from but obviously his two victories in the Unibet Champion Hurdle were exceptional and who knows what might have happened in 2019 had he not fallen at the third?

Let’s not forget he was unbeaten over fences (two from two), and after his hurdling career we were originally going down the novice chase route but Altior was going so well over fences, and I was pretty sure he’d win the Arkle, I didn’t see the point in continuing chasing with Buveur so I rang up JP and said “I think we should switch back to Hurdles because he won’t beat Altior in the Arkle but he will almost certainly win the Unibet Champion Hurdle” and thankfully the plan worked out well and they both won their respective races.

We have been very lucky with all our Champion Hurdle horses in that they all had one main attribute- their jumping. From See You Then, to Binocular to Buveur D’air, they jumped hurdles quicker and more accurately than any other horse and were like arrows which is what helps propel them to the Premier League. Buveur was so quick and slick which is an obvious good thing but if he got it wrong by half an inch there was no margin for error, as we saw at Newcastle.

More recently I thought he put up a tremendous effort in the G1 Aintree Hurdle where he got left with plenty of daylight when a horse fell in front of him so he was then trying to run away with Nico down the back straight before getting severely hampered by the same horse three out, so you could say he was extremely unlucky.

He was a great friend to all of us at Seven Barrows and was one of the nicest people to have around the place. He did everything you’d ask and was a joy to train. I feel very privileged to have trained him for all those years. He was a superstar and won’t be replaced.

I’m delighted he’ll have a long and happy retirement at JP’s Martinstown Stud where he’ll have plenty of time to exchange stories and anecdotes with Istabraq and Binocular about Champion Hurdles gone by.

Buveur D’air was looked after and ridden all his life by Hannah Ryan who absolutely doted on him. Much of his success was down to her, as she knew him inside out.

He really was an absolute star and a pleasure to train and have around the place.