Champion jumper Black And Benthas been retired after the veteran gelding suffered a minor tendon injury that ruled him out of the 2014 jumps racing season.
Black And Bent has not been seen at the races since he carried 72 kilograms to victory in the Grand National Hurdle (3900m) at Sandown on July 14 last year and connections were hopeful that the Black Hawk gelding could return for another racing campaign, but part-owner Mike Symons revealed yesterday that connections have retired the Australasian jumps record holder at the recommendation of trainer Robert Smerdon.
“He obviously wasn’t going to make it to the back-end of this year’s jumps season which was our ultimate aim so we decided to retire him,” Symonds told Racing Victoria.
“He’s done a couple of tendons previously so we didn’t want to take any risks with him.
“He’s provided us with an amazing ride and as owners we’ve just been so fortunate to be a part of it.
“Every season he’d come back and win the races that he’d been set for, he was just a terrific horse.
“He was only a little horse but he had a huge heart and was a real competitor that loved racing and loved jumping.
“He’ll be impossible to replace.”
Black And Bent made his racing debut at Wangaratta back in 2008 and recorded his first race win when he took out a maiden at Cranbourne at the start of 2009.
The son of Black Hawk was gelded in 2009 and made his jumps racing debut in the Lorraine Goodwin Maiden Hurdle (3200m) at Yarra Valley in April of 2009 before scoring his first race win over the jumps in the Callaghan Motors Maiden Hurdle (3200m) at Warrnambool.
Black And Bent was consistent over the jumps in 2009, but in 2010 stamped himself as the champion hurdler in Australia, taking out the Galleywood Hurdle (3200m) and The Australian Hurdle (3400m), and in 2011 extended his undefeated record over the jumps with victories in the Leslie Short Hurdle (3100m), Kevin Lafferty Hurdle (3600m), Grand National Hurdle and J.J. Houlahan Hurdle (3400m).
The tough gelding performed so strongly over the jumps in 2011 that he was set for a Melbourne Cup campaign during the 2011 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, but was unable to earn a start in the race after finishing ninth in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) and seventh in the Listed The Bart Cummings (2500m).
Black And Bent returned to winning form over the jumps in 2012 and broke the Australasian record for most consecutive jumps wins when he scored his tenth straight win over the sticks in the Jack Dow Memorial Hurdle (3300m) at Sandown on May 22 last year.
The eight-year-old was beaten in both the Brendan Drechsler Hurdle and Kevin Lafferty Hurdle last year and looked as though he was struggling under a heavy weight in the Grand National Hurdle, but dug deep to score a memorable victory.
Black And Bent finished his racing career with 14 wins from 22 starts over the jumps and is a chance of joining racing legends like Might And Power and Better Loosen Up at the Living Legends, the international home of rest for champion racehorses, or taking up a role as a lead pony at Aquanita.