Darley have confirmed that two-time Group 1 winner Epaulette has been retired to serve at stud and will join a number of the operations leading Australian-based stallions on the shuttle to Europe next year.
Epaulette performed strongly as a three-year-old but failed to fire when he returned to the races this campaign and rumors circulated that the son of Commands would be retired after he finished at the tail of the field in the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day.
Darley’s Head Of Sales Alastair Pulford revealed in a statement that the racing career of the four-year-old was over and said he will join Exceed And Excel, Helmet and Sepoy in Europe for the 2014 breeding season.
“Epaulette was a brilliant racehorse and he boldly competed against Pierro, All Too Hard and Black Caviar in an epic era,” Pulford said.
“He joins Exceed And Excel, Helmet and Sepoy on the shuttle which shows how well both he and the Australian thoroughbred are regarded in the north.
“He’s a gorgeous looking colt already and he will bloom into even more of a handsome horse by the time he returns to us later next year.”
Epaulette started his racing career with a win in the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on Boxing Day and won the Listed Black Opal Stakes (1200m) in Canberra before finishing second behind Pierro in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) and finishing at the tail of the field in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m).
The three-quarters brother to Helmet returned to the races as a three-year-old and finished third behind Pierro and Your Song before recording his maiden Group 1 victory with a narrow win over stablemate Albrecht in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m).
He made it two straight wins with a narrow victory in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) and finished third behind the classy duo of All Too Hard and Pierro in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
Epaulette started his 2013 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign with a strong second behind equine superstar Black Caviar in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) before finishing a disappointing sixth in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m).
The Peter Snowden-trained galloper returned to the winners circle with his second victory at the highest level of racing in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) but failed to fire in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
Epaulette finished a disappointing seventh about being well backed in the lead-up to the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) and was the first horse beaten in the VRC Spring Classic just under a fortnight ago.
It has been a big week for the Darley operation after their Australian trainer Peter Snowden announced that he would leave to set up his own stable with son Paul at the end of the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.