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Star Pacer Officially Retired

Triple Queensland Horse of the Year Avonnova has been retired.


But this time, it’s for real.

There will be no ‘John Farnham’ type comeback in months to come; instead, he will be enjoying the life of luxury he so richly deserves.

Following his thumping victory in the Gr.2 $50,000 Gold Coast Cup at Albion Park back in 2016, he was retired, but only briefly.

After constantly running the fences coupled with a lingering desire to crack the million dollar mark, owner/trainer Ian Gurney gave him another shot at glory.

Unfortunately, there was no fairytale finish for the gallant son of Art Major.

Boasting 55 victories and earnings of $967, 164 - his almost impenetrable make-up can give no more.

“He’s retired and he won’t be coming back this time, he owes me nothing and he deserves to finish his career a happy and healthy horse. He’ll enjoy his life in the paddock and I’ll be happy to have a beer and a chat with him every afternoon.” Gurney said.

The free-legged pacer finished at the rear of the field behind Glenferrie Hood at his most recent start at Albion Park on December 22.

But he will be forever remembered for his great staying prowess and ability to compete at the highest level.

Since being claimed for a modest amount from an event at Goulburn back on October 25, 2013, the transformation has been astonishing under the watchful eye of Gurney.

And his transformation came at a critical time because the state of Queensland was desperately seeking a star performer to cheer for on the national stage.

His biggest moment came via the 2015 Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park when he defeated subsequent Inter Dominion champion Smolda when leading throughout in a time of 1:51.3.

Other feature race triumphs include the Gr.2 Gold Coast Cup, Gr.2 Newcastle Mile, Gr.3 Les Chant and Kevin Robinson Cups, Lucky Creed and the Listed Christmas Cup (x 2).

Feature race placings include the Len Smith Mile (2nd to Beautide), Sunshine Sprint (3rd to Im Themightyquinn), Blacks A Fake (2nd to Im Themighytquinn), Queensland Pacing Championship (2nd to For A Reason), Blacks A Fake (3rd to Philadelphia Man), Queensland Pacing Championship (3rd to Our Hi Jinx), Smoken Up Sprint (3rd to Lennytheshark) and the Mr Feelgood Open (2nd to Ultimate Art).

But his best effort came when unplaced in the 2015 Inter Dominion Grand Final at Gloucester Park when a courageous fourth behind Lennytheshark after having absolutely little luck.

The veteran performer finished as a runner-up in two heats behind Philadelphia Man and Devendra before his game effort in the final.

Fittingly, at the most recent Racing Queensland Awards Function in Brisbane, Avonnova was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Gone but not forgotten, thanks for the memories champ!

Chris Barsby | RQ Web News | January 7 | Photo by Dan Costello