History-making Minella Times retired as a national hero after suffering setback

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Trained by Henry de Bromhead, the 10-year-old was being prepared for the Aintree spectacular once more, but the problem is serious enough for him to miss the April date and as a result connections have called time on his career. The JP McManus-owned gelding progressed at a rate of knots in the 2020-21 season, finishing second in two of the biggest handicaps of the season at Leopardstown before powering to glory on Merseyside. Raised 13lb for that success, he subsequently struggled and was brought down at Valentine's on the first circuit in last year's race. Blackmore, not surprisingly, will always remember that famous afternoon in Liverpool. She told Betfair: "It's a day I will never forget. "He is such a special horse to a lot of people, now he will get to enjoy a wonderful well deserved retirement in Martinstown (McManus' stud in Ireland). "Henry and all the team in Knockeen did such an incredible job with him and I will always be grateful for that." McManus' racing manager Frank Berry said: "We were looking forward to going to the cross-country at Cheltenham with him and back to the National, but he had a mishap - he hurt his shoulder. "He might need an operation on it to make him comfortable in retirement. It's just disappointing. "He gave us a great day. It's a real shame because Henry was very happy with him and we were looking forward to getting him back for the cross-country and the National again. "The handicapper hit him very hard for winning the National and he struggled last year, but he had dropped back down a bit so it's just unfortunate he's had the accident. Hopefully he'll be fine to have a good retirement. "The season he won the National Henry had him in great form, he put up two great performances at Leopardstown before Aintree and everything went smoothly there. "He got a great ride from Rachael on the day and it was a day none of us will every forget."

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