Hong Kong champion Able Friend has been retired and will return to Australia where he will spend his days at the Ramsey family’s Turangga Farm in NSW where he was born.
The highest-rated horse to race in Hong Kong, Able Friend will be farewelled at a special ceremony at Sha Tin on Sunday.
He was trained by Hawkes Racing early in his career and raced in Hong Kong under John Moore for the late Dr Cornel Li, winning four Group One races.
“He was the equal of any horse on the planet at his peak,” Moore told the HK Jockey Club.
“He’ll be known as a legend here. He’s earned his place in Hong Kong folklore as that strapping, big chestnut with the electrifying turn of foot.
“The public really took to him.
“He just obliterated the best here in Hong Kong.
“While we’ll miss him, I’m sure when he gets back to the farm where he was born he’ll enjoy a lovely retirement – probably eye-balling sheep and cattle!”
Moore has often referred to the horse as “Big Red”; his stable’s mafoos (stable staff) affectionately called him “Dai Bun Cheung”, a Cantonese term that translates, thereabouts, to “Big Elephant”.
In January 2016, Able Friend was found to have suffered a deep digital flexor tendon injury in his right front leg.
After recuperating in Australia, he returned to Hong Kong but failed to win in four starts this season.
Able Friend was found to be lame in his off-fore on March 16 and further tests showed a recurrence of the tendon problem.