Tom Scudamore paid a nice tribute to the famous pursuer Vieux Lion Rouge, who retired after a successful 10-year career.
Coach David Pipe called the time for the 13-year-old’s race days after being stopped in pursuit of the latest handicap adventure at Haydock last week.
Vieux Lion Rouge was a highlight at Aintree, where he won the Becher Chase twice in six attempts and made five Grand National appearances with a sixth place finish in 2017.
“He’s been a fantastic servant for the yard, for Caroline (Tisdall), for John (Gent, owners) and David (Pipe) and for me,” Scudamore told Sky Sports Racing.
“It gave us so many happy days and it was amazing to think that the big, lanky three year old boy over whom I won a bumper over a mile and a half in Newbury kept achieving what he did.
“The funny thing with him was that he wasn’t a natural jumper. Over obstacles he was a little clumsy and over fences to begin with you wouldn’t have put him down like a national horse.
“He actually raced in the National as a rookie the first time. I remember teaching him beyond the fences of the National and he was just fantastic – but I was a little afraid to be honest because he wasn’t a natural talent but they made him into a man and not. he never looked back: he was such an intelligent horse.
“Caroline is a huge supporter of National Hunt and Grand National racing, so for Vieux to get there so early was great for her and John.
“I think he holds the record for most Grand National fences jumped and I’ve won more races (11) on him than any other horse, so he holds a special place in my heart.”
Vieux Lion Rouge has won 13 of his 41 entries and earned £ 344,777 in prize money in a career that began in December 2012.