Last year’s Grand National hero, Bingley-trained Auroras Encore, has been retired after fracturing a leg.
The 12-year-old was a shock 66-1 winner of the Aintree feature for trainer Sue Smith last April, but had failed to hit the mark in three subsequent starts.
He finished ninth in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster last Saturday and it later transpired he had suffered an injury in the course of the race.
The problem required surgery and after undergoing an operation on Tuesday, Auroras Encore will not race again.
“He has had an operation to a repair a fracture. They got him up successfully after the surgery and he was staying overnight. Fingers crossed – it’s still early days,” said Mrs Smith “He won a National for us. It doesn’t get bigger than that. He doesn’t owe us anything. This is a racing injury and I'm afraid that it is what you have to expect from the job on occasion.
“These things happen. I just want him home to have a happy retirement,”
Auroras Encore, who was bought for a bargain £9,000, won the world’s most famous steeplechase by nine lengths with Scottish jockey Ryan Mania on board. The total prize money awarded for the horse’s win was £545,000.
At the time Mrs Smith, who runs a yard of about 40 horses at Craiglands Farm in High Eldwick with her husband Harvey, a former showjumping champion, said: “Ryan gave the horse such a good ride. We knew the ground was right, we knew everything else was and it was.
“He had a bit of luck in running but he didn't have much weight so that helped. But it was no fluke. The horse has plenty of miles on the clock and is very sensible, he's a brilliant ride.
“The prize money is just a bonus really. It is really about the prestige of winning the race.”
One of Auroras Encore’s three owners Douglas Pryce also said: “We all had a few drinks at Aintree and then when we got back here we went to Dick Hudsons pub to celebrate with a few drinks of wine and champagne. I am very proud.”