It’s never to make the decision to retire a horse, especially one that has won the Grand National.

However, that is exactly what winning trainer Lucinda Russell has had to do with the 2023 winner, Corach Rambler, this week.

Still considered quite young at just ten years old, it was a surprise to many when the announcement was made, but Russell and Rambler’s owners have their reasons.

Hailed as “a horse of a lifetime”, Corach Rambler was on course for a second bid at the Grand National before unseating jockey Derek Fox at the first fence in 2024.

It was undoubtedly a disappointing end to his chances to be the first back-to-back winner since Tiger Roll in 2018 & 2019, but it did give connections pause for thought.

After all, he had just run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, finishing third behind Willie Mullins winner, Galopin Des Champs.

That didn’t stop the bookies from installing him as ante-post favourite on the run up to Aintree, pipped in the odds on the day by the eventual winner, I Am Maximus.

In fact, one even stated that by not winning, Corach Rambler had saved the company over £5 million, which is a staggering figure not often seen outside of some particularly lucrative online slots. But save them money, he did, and it was only after the race that connections decided to send him to Punchestown for another Gold Cup.

I cannot begin to understand the reasons for aiming a horse at all of the major racing events in one season.

After all, despite coming out of Cheltenham in fine form, it was always a huge ask when sending him to Aintree barely a month later.

Not only did he unseat, but he then knocked over at the next fence when running loose, which clearly shook him up.

Instead of ending his season there and getting him back on track, he went to Ireland to go up against Galopin Des Champs again.

He wasn’t up for it and didn’t always jump fluidly, was never really in contention, and ultimately, Derek Fox had to pull him up just before two out.

Lucinda Russell’s Statement

There is no question that not only is Lucinda Russell one of the premier trainers in the UK, but she is also one who knows when to call it a day.

She has done it before with One For Arthur, her first Grand National winner back in 2017, when she called time on his career in November 2020.

And, sadly, she has had to do it again with Corach Rambler.

A winner of seven of his 18 starts and having earned more than £750,000 in prize money, Corach Rambler endeared himself to the racing public with his tenacious racing style, which was on show when landing consecutive runnings of the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2022 and 2023.

He followed that up with victory in last year’s Grand National at Aintree under Derek Fox, who partnered him on every start.

She made the announcement via her website stating: “After a lot of thought and discussion we have decided that our brilliant 2023 Grand National winner Corach Rambler is going to be retired.

“In some ways, the decision is laced with sadness. Corach has been a horse of a lifetime for his seven-strong syndicate of owners who won the greatest steeplechase in the world.

“He also has had a special relationship with our jockey Derek Fox and has brought so much joy to all our staff here at Arlary.

“But the decision is also a joyous one. Corach Rambler will always be a special horse for us, we owe him so much.

“More than anything we want him to go out at the top, in excellent physical condition and able to hopefully enjoy a long and happy retirement.”

She also referred to his run in National in April and how next season, the big races would be contested by younger horses and that Coarach would be burdened by the bigger weights in the handicaps.

All told, and looking at the bigger picture, it seems that Russell has made the right decision for her charge and put his welfare above all else.

And genuinely, nobody can fault her for doing what is in the best interest of her horse.

How Successful Was Corach Rambler?

Even a cursory glance at Corach Rambler’s career highlights shows just how good of a chaser he was.

He won the Ultima Handicap Chase twice at Cheltenham with back-to-back wins in 2022 and 2023.

That laid the foundation for him to go off at 8/1 for the 2023 National, making him only the fifth favourite to win the race this century.

From 15 chase starts, he won five as well as placing third on three more occasions.

In total, he earned over £768K for connections, including £500K for his 2023 Grand National win.

But more than all of that, he gave his fans some incredible moments over the years and his contribution to racing will be missed as we all wish him luck on the next stage of his journey.