Brilliant Quevega is retired
Quevega is to retire from racing and begin a career as a broodmare after being beaten by shock winner Jetson in the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle at Punchestown.
Fresh from landing the OLBG Mares' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival for the sixth successive year, the Willie Mullins-trained Quevega was the 9-10 favourite to secure a fifth victory on the bounce in this three-mile Grade One contest.
She travelled with her usual zest for much of the journey, but Ruby Walsh was hard at work from the home turn.
Jetson, up with the pace from outset, had already stolen a march on his rivals at the top of the straight and while Quevega did her best to reel him in after the final flight, Jessica Harrington's runner had enough in reserve to score by a length and a quarter in the hands of an inspired Davy Russell.
At Fishers Cross was third as the 10-year-old Quevega suffered her first defeat since 2009 and the curtain now looks set to come down on her career.
Mullins initally said: "Things didn't go great for Quevega in the race at all, but full marks to the winner. I thought she didn't get much luck in running and Davy rode a good race. He got a good run and it proved a winning run.
"I'll speak to the owners but I'd imagine this was her last race. She's a special mare and it would be hard to repeat what she's done. We'll always be trying to buy one like her but you can't replace her."
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Co-owner Ger O'Brien told At The Races: "She might not have been foot-perfect at the second-last, Davy stole a march and he couldn't be caught, but that's racing.
"No decision has been made (about her future) - it hasn't even been discussed. I'd say we'll take to Willie in the next couple of days and decisions will be made then. It's a pity her record has gone, but we'll get over it. Well done to Jetson and his connections.
"It's been a thrill to be involved with her and I'm sure if we spent another generation or two trying to replace her it would be impossible.
"We'll see what happens from here."
Confirmation then broke with Mullins telling At The Races: "I've just spoken to the owner, I think we are going to start discussing her next career as a broodmare. It's not too late to cover her. Her racing career is finished now. We didn't get a lot of luck in running, let's leave it at that.
"You'll never replace the likes of her, we try to buy good mares all the time but she'll leave a fair gap in our yard. I'll be sorry to see her go, but she finishes in one piece and is sound. She's pulled up sound, she's had a tremendous career and I'll be sorry to see her go."
He added: "She's a special mare and it would be hard to repeat what she's done. We'll always be trying to buy one like her but you can't replace her."