David Simcock paid tribute to his magnificent stalwart Sheikhzayedroad, as he announced his retirement from racing.
Owned by Mohammed Jaber, the nine-year-old gelding by Dubawi won 11 times in 49 starts and earned official prize money of well into seven figures.
His first win came at Hamilton in an extended mile maiden back in May, 2012. From there Sheikhzayed made rapid progress and he enjoyed a high-profile success at Epsom on Derby day in 2013.
The following year saw the first of five springtime campaigns in Dubai. He struck on his initial start in the desert and went on to relish the climate and conditions at Meydan.
2014 really was a vintage season for Sheihzayedroad as he stepped up to record a first Group-race win, landing the York Stakes at York in July.
Six weeks after that, he showed his liking for international travel with his only Grade 1 win – taking the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes at Woodbine.
In October 2016 he won a Group 2 race at Ascot, earning a career-high rating of 118 for that superb display.
He showed that just about all of his talents were intact earlier this year, going down by only a length to Vazirabad in the Group 2 Meydan Gold Cup.
But as the season drew towards its close perhaps all those brave performances were just starting to catch up with him.
Sheikhzayedroad’s final race saw him finish second in Listed company on September 27th at Newmarket.
Trainer David Simcock said: “He has run relatively consistently this year but at a lower level than he has before – apart from his beloved Dubai where training really suits him.
“He has been a sound horse all his life and I would hate anything to happen to him. When he was second the other day and looked like he was going to win, he probably just lacked maybe a bit of enthusiasm at the end. That was probably him saying ‘I’ve had enough.’
“He has earned a happy retirement as a hack at Trillium Place, which is wonderful.
“He has given us some wonderful days. Even back to when he won a handicap on Derby day as a four-year-old.
“The highlight was probably Ascot, but that was one of many highlights.
“Winning in Dubai (the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy), finishing placed in two Dubai Gold Cups. And Woodbine was very special, obviously – winning his Grade 1.
“There was lots to like.”