Quevega heads to retirement as a remarkable achiever in the ranks of National Hunt racing
Last Updated: 01/05/14 8:37pm
Quevega: A brilliant racemare
Quevega heads to retirement as a remarkable achiever in the ranks of National Hunt racing, breaking new ground for fillies and mares.
Only Dawn Run before her in winning the Champion Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup has left such an indelible mark on a jumping game dominated by the boys.
The 10-year-old Willie Mullins-trained mare will be forever remembered for winning the same race at the Cheltenham Festival for an unprecedented six times, upstaging Golden Miller, one of the immortals of the jumping game, in the process.
He may have won five Gold Cups from 1932 to 1936 to go down as one the steeplechasing greats of all time along with Arkle, but Quevega won the hearts of fans of the winter sport in her own unique way.
Her annual appearance in the Mares' Hurdle was usually her first of the season, which made it even more remarkable.
And she never disappointed her adoring public as she blossomed in early spring just as daffodils always signal the end of a dreary winter with a much-needed display of colour.
It is difficult to believe that she was went off as big as 2-1 when she won for the first time at Cheltenham in 2009, but as she came home 14 lengths clear of United her star potential was hard to ignore.
That was to be her biggest margin of victory in the race she made her own with Ruby Walsh in the saddle.
Her wins at the Mecca of jumps action were not without the odd anxious moment, but she always delivered in the end.
It was a similar story at Punchestown, where four consecutive victories came in the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle, being narrowly denied a fifth by Jetson in a race that proved to be her last, with Mullins announcing her racing career was finished and broodmare duties would await.
She bows out with a record of 16 wins from 24 starts and well over £700,000 in win and place prize-money earnings, with her defeat on Thursday being her first since 2009.
Who knows, had Mullins not had such an embarrassment of riches, she may have won a blue riband event at Cheltenham such as the Champion Hurdle or the World Hurdle, maybe clashing with Big Buck's in race dreams would have been made of.
That does not matter, however, or diminish her amazing career.
She now goes to the breeding shed and if any of her offspring can inherit a smidgeon of her ability, then Quevega will have left a legacy that could last for many years to come.