Retirement Upset in Ireland

The horse racing community in Ireland has just been trying to recover from the news that purses will be cut for the coming 2009 racing season, which has also led to the renovations at Curragh Racecourse being put on hold, when the news of a retirement broke. It seems that the magnificent Kicking King will be going into retirement sooner than anyone had expected, and it has added to the gloomy cloud hanging over horse racing in Ireland at the moment. Known as one of the greatest chasers to have come out of Ireland, Kicking King will truly be missed, but remembered for all time.

Trainer Tom Taaffe showed Kicking King to Conor Clarkson as a foal. He saw potential in him, and Taaffe’s faith in the foal convinced Clarkson to make the purchase. It is a day he will never regret. Conor Clarkson has devoted himself to Kicking King throughout the years, and his decision to retire the great jumps racing horse was made in the best interests of the champion.

Kicking King has participated in twenty-eight jumps racing events, of which he won twelve. Three of those victories included winning the King George VI Chases twice and winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2005. Unfortunately, Kicking King pushed himself too far whilst trying to ward off Monkerhostin during a race on Boxing Day, injuring his tendon and forcing him into rest for two years. Even though he healed well and seemed to be making a promising come back, Kicking King just did not have the spark he once possessed, and rather than taking the risk of him suffering another injury, Clarkson has opted to retire him instead, saying: "On looking back over his racing career you realize what an amazing racehorse he was. I suppose it's a little bit sad his racing career is over, but he can now look forward to a happy retirement."

Both Taaffe and Clarkson expressed their gratitude at being able to have been associated with such a brave and courageous racehorse, and that they are grateful for the memories made and the fact that Kicking King has retired without life threatening injuries. They might not be able to see him in racing action anymore, but being able to have walked such a long road with his horse, including being able to share his retirement years, is enough for Clarkson.

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