Time Called; Freakish mare Courageous Annie has been officially retired.
Brilliant mare Courageous Annie has run her final race.
Owner Dean Shannon and trainer/driver Darrel Graham made the decision in the past week to retire the Gr.1 NSW Oaks winner after battling with soundness issues in her hooves over the past two seasons.
“It's always a tough call to retire a horse with this type of ability but it was an easy decision to make in the end. Dean is a great owner and he just said make the right call by the horse so there was no pressure.” Graham said.
Courageous Annie has mixed her form this season winning 5 of her 13 starts including a scorching mile at Albion Park in 1;53.0 on March 10 but the 'speed queen' hasn't reached the dizzy heights she scaled the previous season which saw her win 10 of her 11 starts.
Her 3yo season was remarkable, the Courage Under Fire filly won 10 straight races including the Gr.1 $100,000 Form 700 NSW Oaks at TABCORP Park, Menangle plus the Gr.2 $75,000 Garrards Nursery Pace Final at Albion Park.
Another highlight that season was her 'PB' performance at TABCORP Park, Menangle where she stunned onlookers with her 1;52.6 clocking after racing without cover.
The 1;52.6 mile compares more than favourably with the open mares record of 1;51.8 set by Pacific Playgirl when she came off the pace to win the Robin Dundee Stakes in 2011 at TABCORP Park, Menangle.
“It was a privilege to train such a talented racemare; Annie provided both Dean and myself some wonderful memories during her time at the track.
Annie was just wicked fast and I mean frighteningly fast; Lanercost is the quickest horse I've ever had anything to do with but this mare could match it with him for at least a furlong.
She had a very high cruising speed and she loved to race, it's such a shame that she was plagued by those constant niggling issues with her hooves.”
Courageous Annie was a $105,000 purchase from the 2009 New Zealand PGG Wrightson Ready to Run Sale in Christchurch.
“We knew we had a special filly before we even landed her because she clocked an unbelievable 25.8 second final quarter in the run-up before the sale that year. We were keen on the Courage Under Fire progeny largely thanks to Lanercost at the time so Dean was happy to secure her.
Winning the NSW Oaks was very special; Annie dominated both the heat and final and beat some very good fillies like Aussie Made Lombo and Vertigal while running very strong times.
Frankly, it was always a battle with her hooves and they were very tender more often than not but we always tried to manage her the best way possible. Her best form was at Menangle and I'm sure she just enjoyed the surface there better than anywhere else.”
Courageous Annie has already settled into her new surroundings at the property of owner Dean Shannon on the Sunshine Coast.
No decision has been made as yet on what stallion will cover her in the up-coming breeding season.