Mary King’s consistent four-star ride Apache Sauce has been retired from top-level competition, aged 16. In an interview on the website of horse bedding company Nedz, Mary reports that “Caffrey” has been “a bit wary of drop fences and galloping downhill” this year.
The decision to call it a day came after Gillian Jonas’ distinctive white-faced chestnut stopped jumping into the water at the Subaru Houghton International Horse Trials last weekend.
Mary said: “He came to jump a log that dropped into water and he stopped! I thought, ‘oh Caffrey’ and didn’t have the heart to smack him, so I brought him round and he slowly jumped it and I finished the course steadily with him, but it has now been decided with his owner that we are going to retire him from top level competition.
“We would be being greedy if we continued to run him and he is sound and clean limbed and it is important that he wants to do his job still. So [Mary’s daughter] Emily is going to try and play around at junior level with him where there is less pressure.”
Apache Sauce is British-bred, by the thoroughbred Endoli, out of a mare called Saucy Secret, by the Irish draught Colman. He was bred by Julia Jeffery, who sold him on as a two-year-old and then lost track of him until she saw him on television at Badminton.
Mary took over the ride on Apache Sauce in 2004 and while he wasn’t the easiest ride, he proved to be tough, sound and consistent, earning 1512 British Eventing points in his career.
Apache Sauce has an exceptional record, with 10 completions at four-star, all with clear jumping rounds across country. He was placed in the top 10 on five of these occasions, his best result being fourth at Burghley in 2008. His eighth place at Luhmühlen last year helped Mary to the HSBC FEI Classics title and the associated $150,000 (£94,000) prize.
All the action from Houghton in H&H this Thursday, out 31 May.
Photo: Mary King riding Apache Sauce at Badminton 2009