Three-time Group 1 winner Hitotsu retired after serious infection
Freakish Group 1 superstar Hitotsu ran his last race and will be retired to stud after suffering a nasty infection.
The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained galloper won the Victoria Derby in spring 2021 before claiming the Australian Derby in Sydney in autumn 2022 as well as a memorable Australian Guineas win.
A suspensory ligament injury ruled him out of last spring carnival and now a series of setbacks, most recently a serious leg infection, will cause his shock retirement.
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“Hitotsu got a cut on his leg and then it got infected,” said Ozzie Kheir, part owner.
“They washed it (the infection) out about a week ago and he is stable.
“We resisted the temptation to retire him to stud after his remarkable three-year-old season as Ciaron and Dave were adamant that he had so much more upside and we hadn’t seen the best of him.
“Unfortunately, plans in racing are not often written down.
“Hitotsu took us on a wonderful journey in such a short period of time and showed that special horses can be trained in a very unconventional way and it is a credit to the stable that was not afraid to try something different.
“We will now begin the process of finding the best place for him to continue his next chapter and follow his progeny for many years to come.”
Associate coach Maher said he had a heavy heart when he spoke about the retirement news.
“While it’s incredibly disappointing, he has provided us with some of the most memorable moments we’ve enjoyed in his short career on a racetrack,” Maher said.
“He is one of the most talented horses I have ever trained and I hope one day I can train his offspring.”
Meanwhile, another rising star owned by Kheir and trained by Maher and Eustace has picked up a tendon injury and is out of the autumn carnival.
The future of Yonce, who has won six of her seven starts, will be determined after discussions between the trainers and connections. It is possible that she could be retired to be a broodmare.
“Yonce will not be participating in the fall as she suffered a hamstring injury late last week,” Kheir said.
“This is extremely disappointing for all involved as it is said to have gone better than her previous preparation. After her first preparation with seven starts, things have not gone her way yet.
“In the spring she had a freak accident in the raft and now this.
“We have yet to decide whether to retire her as a breeding mare or continue racing at this stage.
“The injury is only minor, but like all tendons it is difficult to get back to your best after 1.5 years of racing.”
Originally published as Group 1 winner Hitotsu retired after severe infection