Special Farewell for Chettak

Tears of joy flowed after the Cambridge warhorse Chettak ended his racing career on a high note at Tauranga today.

Having his 63rd start, Chettak showed punters he hadn’t forgotten how to win when he fought strongly to take the Gilmours Tauranga 2100 by a neck from the local Group Two winner Our Star Pupil. It was the nine-year-old’s ninth win and despite the success, his connections won’t be changing their minds over retirement.

“That’s it,” said trainer Stephen Marsh. “He won his first start and he’s won his last start. It’s a good way to go out. It’s all gone to script.”

Marsh was emotional as he walked from the stand down to the winner’s enclosure. “It’s the first time I’ve had a tear in my eye over a race,” said Marsh. “He’s been a special horse around the stable. He’s been with us since we bought him as a yearling.”

The Marsh camp was all emotional over the win and so were some of the members of the syndicate, which had made a special trip to farewell their pride and joy.

Chettak was originally raced by seven syndicate members, but a few dropped by the wayside despite the horse showing potential from the outset.

Chettak, a son of Almutawakel, won three stakes races — the Wellington Stakes, Counties Cup and Manawatu Cup — and in each of those feature wins he was ridden by Lisa Cropp, who was called up for the farewell ride today.

“Lisa has got such a great record on him and that’s the reason we got her back on for this last race,” said Marsh. “The old firm did it again.”

Cropp was thrilled to win again on Chettak. “I love this horse so much,” said Cropp. “I’ve won a lot of races on him and I so wanted to ride him today. I knew he’d win.”

Though retired from racing, Chettak won’t be idle. Instead he will remain in the Marsh stable.

“I always said that when he retired he could stay here,” said Marsh. “He’s better off in the stable. He’ll just be a babysitter for the young horses and do a bit of work some days, but he won’t race again. He’s done a great job.”