By Andrew Adermann
The 2017 Blacks A Fake winner Hectorjayjay has been retired from racing after suffering another injury setback.
The champion sprinter was most recently under the care of Logan-based trainer Jack Butler, who had been working relentlessly with the gelding to get him back to the track after almost two years away.
In 2018, connections of the nine-year-old gelding were told he may never race again after sustaining a series of serious leg injuries, however in May of this year, a day many thought would never happen finally arrived; Hector returned to Albion Park with an impressive third placing, before claiming victory one week later - his first in 683 days.
Hector was set to return to the track this weekend following a minor joint problem, but injury has once again cruelled the star, with the trainer calling time on his incredible career just days before he attempted his final comeback.
“He’s had another suspensory issue, which is what laid him off before I got him,” Butler said.
“I took him to fast work yesterday and everything was fine but just as he was warming down I felt like something wasn’t 100% and I could tell there was a little bit of filling in the suspensory.
“I always said to the owner that if that comes back then we’ll have to pull the pin.
“The owner was gutted when I told him, we had him all ready to roll for Saturday night and he’s probably as fit as I’ve had him since he’s been here, but I rang Matt and he knew straight away that something was wrong.”
Hectorjayjay forged a reputation as one Australia’s most brilliant pacers, where his combination of endurance and devastating turn-of-foot saw him earn more than $1 million in prize money throughout his career.
Across his 80-race career, he amassed 44 wins and a further 22 placings.
In the winter of 2016, his then-trainer, David Aiken, brought the five-year-old up to Queensland for a tilt at the state’s most prestigious races.
He first claimed the Group 2 Garrard’s Sunshine Sprint over 1660 metres behind the driving of the late Gavin Lang, before starting an even-money favourite in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship – ultimately falling short for second place.
A year later he returned for the same pair of races, going back-to-back in the Sprint, before a dramatic finish in the Blacks A Fake saw him go one better on 2016 and take home the $200,000 feature.
Driven by Josh Aiken, Hectorjayjay sat near last for the majority of the 2,680-metre trip, being forced to come five-wide on the final turn to storm home down the outside fence to claim victory in the final metres.