Two of Ireland's best loved National Hunt stars, Limestone Lad and Solerina, are both enjoying their retirement at trainer Michael Bowe's County Tipperary base.
Limestone Lad, now at the ripe old age of 21, won an astonishing 35 races in a six-year career between 1997 and 2003, with his incredibly tough front-running style endearing him to the National Hunt faithful.
He had no little ability to go with his tremendous will to win, landing numerous Grade One prizes, including the Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse in 1999, 2001 and 2002, as well as being placed in two renewals of the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Bowe, whose late father James officially trained Limestone Lad, points to his 1999 Hatton's Grace victory over the legendary Istabraq as possibly the greatest day of them all.
"Limestone was a one-off. He still is. We were very lucky to have him and we'll probably never have another like him. He's probably in as good a health now as he ever has been. He's enjoying a well-earned retirement and sometimes you'd love to go and throw a saddle on his back," said Bowe.
"We had a lot of big days with him, but I suppose beating Istabraq in the Hatton's Grace is a day that sticks out. At the time I probably didn't appreciate him as much as I do now. He was a handful to deal with, but an incredible horse."
Just as Limestone Lad's career was coming to a close, along came the wonderful mare Solerina. Another horse who went out in front and wore her heart on her sleeve, she also won the Hatton's Grace Hurdle three times, between 2003 and 2005.
Now a 16-year-old, Solerina has given birth to a number of foals and Bowe is hoping at least one of them can take him back into the big time.
"Unfortunately Limestone is a gelding, so I can't breed off him, but Solerina is in foal now to Doyen and that foal is due in April. We also have a lovely four-year-old filly by Milan. I don't like talking up horses but I do think she could be quite nice. She'll tell us when she's ready to run," said the trainer.
"We also have a three-year-old filly by High Chaparral, and a yearling, so hopefully they'll turn out to be good, but they have a lot to live up to. If they're half as good as Solerina, that will do me."
23 April 2014No Sandown run for Oscar
Un De Sceaux to skip Punchestown
Treve among stellar Ascot entries
Charline still in Guineas mix
Big guns remain in Guineas frame
Telescope tops Richards runners
Prince in Punchestown frame
Sparrow set for Punchestown spin
Balder to take novice test
No rush for Annie target
Connell eager for Tank chase run
Cosgrave appeal set for Monday
Hughes set for Sandown return
France adds flair to Guineas
Mullins drops Vautour Champion hint
Exciting Bunker given Dante date
Culloty keen on Gold run for Heeled
Hannon triple-handed in Guineas
Resurge revived for Epsom return
Sandown option for Battalion
Johnston pair clash in Derby Trial
Reckless Abandon returns to track
22 April 2014Rizeena delights in Guineas workout
Carberry targets swift return
Williamson escapes serious injury
Rizeena thrills Brittain on gallops
Door bags National glory
Twiston-Davies hits four-timer
Joe suffers shock defeat
Scudamore hits century mark
Ivan lands Fairyhouse prize
Thousand shows star quality
Cirrus set for Treve clash
Houblon heads Gold contenders
Guineas still on Berkshire radar
21 April 2014Door bags National glory
Wilson passes away
Ivan lands Fairyhouse prize
Stepper set for trip drop
Richards in Telescope sights
Ladies geared for Summer repeat
Hill out of Irish National
No Dundeel at Royal Ascot
Clowance up for the Cup
Garner hit with lengthy ban
Memories in Final flourish
Fitz powers home at Fairyhouse
Toner hits target for Elliott
Joe ready for Cork outing
Lennon looking to call tune
Ground holds key to Tonto show
Lucky escape for Cook
Mind called up for National service
20 April 2014Fitz powers home at Fairyhouse
Lyons backs Brackan
Brookhouse turns to Crawford
Weld and Smullen keep up good work
Whiskey shows winning spirit
Brook another for Russell team
Zurigha blossoms in Snowdrop
Planning pounces at Haydock
Escalating moving on up
Buntline bidding for more
Rebel all set for big Powers test