Talking Horses: pros and cons of an upper age limit for jumps racehorses

At some point, each racehorse has done their bit and deserves retirement. Does racing need a rule to ensure they get it?

This morning’s piece, arising from the terribly sad death of Big Fella Thanks, has brought forth some strong reactions on social media. Most racing fans, it seems to me, are set against the suggestion of an upper age limit for horses in jump races and of course there are examples they can cite of successful teenagers, like Hello Bud winning the Becher Chase a month before he turned 15, or Oscar Time winning the same race when he was only a year younger.

Going somewhat further back, Sonny Somers won a couple of minor races over fences in 1980 at the age of 18. Mac Vidi was placed in the same year’s Gold Cup at the age of 15.

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