Grand National regular Saint Are has set sail over Aintree’s famous spruce fences for the final time after trainer Tom George decided now is the time to send the popular 12-year-old into well-earned retirement.
A starter in the last four Grand Nationals, and five in all, Saint Are went closest to winning the biggest jumps race in the world in 2015, failing by just one and three-quarter lengths to peg back Many Clouds in a memorable race.
Pulled up in the race in 2016, Saint Are, owned by David Fox and better known as 'Arnie' at George’s stable in Gloucestershire, returned in 2017 to finish third to One For Arthur at 25-1.
A Grade 1 winner over hurdles at Aintree for his former trainer Tim Vaughan in 2011, the veteran was making his fifth and final start in the National when he was brought down at the Chair on Saturday, an incident that left him requiring veterinary aid before returning home the following day.
“The team here at Down Farm are delighted to report that Saint Are is back home safe and sound after being brought down in the Grand National on Saturday,” said George on Monday.
“Arnie returned on Sunday morning from Aintree and was in his usual paddock that evening having a buck and a kick.”
Announcing his retirement, the trainer added: “Career-long owners David Fox and partner Lystra Adams’ priorities have always been his well-being. Thus have taken the decision to let him enjoy an active retirement after a summer at grass here at Down Farm.
"It is yet to be decided in which sphere, however he is sure to excel in whatever is chosen.”
Over hurdles, fences and the Grand National course, Saint Are ran 13 times in all at his beloved Aintree, winning twice and placing on four further occasions.
George added: “He had an unbelievable record round Aintree, winning the Grade 1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle and the John Smith’s Handicap Listed Chase at the Grand National festival and of course finished second, third and ninth in the Grand National. Happy Retirement Arnie.”