Popular sprinter Take Cover retired after finishing gallant second at Newbury

Nobody wants to finish second, but there was only pride from connections of Take Cover after the evergreen sprinter bowed out, losing nothing in defeat to Mr Lupton in Newbury's Group 3 Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes on Saturday.

A winner of the race last year, Take Cover was only three-quarters of a length off the winner, and trainer David Griffiths joked a few long lunches might persuade owner-breeder Andrew Hollis to keep the 11-year-old in training, although that seems extremely unlikely.

Hollis said: "He's done us proud and I couldn't ask him to come back again. David's done an amazing job to keep him going and run so well. It wasn't his ground today, but he just tries and tries.

"Him coming home safe and sound is important and he's got plenty of relatives to go into training. He's definitely retired today. I hope I can breed another one like him, but it will take some doing."  

Take Cover, if Hollis has his way, retires after winning 15 of his 49 starts and amassing £756,794 in prize-money.

That haul also includes a brace of victories in Goodwood's King George Stakes – days his camp remember fondly.

"When he won those two races at Goodwood it was amazing, and when he finished second this year it was also really good because he won a lot of prize-money," added Hollis, whose stalwart will have a relaxing time in the paddock now.

"He did us proud those days. He's done really well today and I didn't expect him to run that well because of the soft ground. He'll be hard to replace, but you see horses go down and I don't want that to happen. I'd have finished last year, but David persuaded me and he came back and did incredibly again."
Take Cover, who was ridden by Fran Berry, will also be sorely missed by Griffiths, who trains a string of 32 near Doncaster.

He said his popular sprinter – a breeding quirk by top middle-distance performer Singspiel out of Enchanted, who won over seven furlongs – had put him on the map.

"He'll be very hard to replace as he's the best horse I've trained, but I'll keep pestering Andrew about retirement," said the trainer, who was congratulated on his handling of Take Cover by counterparts William Haggas and Clive Cox.

"He's been brilliant to keep at the level for so long. The second King George was probably my favourite moment. He's led to us getting more horses and if he does go he'll owe us nothing."