TOP British event rider Oliver Townend this week announced the retirement of his brilliant Cooley Master Class at the age of 17. Together they scaled the heights of international eventing, captured top wins on both sides of the Atlantic in a 13-year partnership.

Cooley Master Class (ISH) was bred in Co Wicklow by John Hagan and the bay gelding is by the late Belgian warmblood stallion Ramiro B (BWP) out of The Swallow (ISH) by Master Imp (TB). Cooley Master Class (ISH) started his career as a four-year-old show jumping with Cathal McMunn and was then produced as a five-year-old by Gilford’s Steven Smith. Subsequently sourced by Richard and Georgina Sheane from Cooley Farm in Wicklow, he was sold to Townend and the rest is history.

Paying tribute on his social media, Oliver Townend said: “Very emotional to announce the retirement of Cooley Master Class today. We bought him as a four-year-old and he has for the last 13 years been a fantastic competition partner but moreover a very dear friend.

“His competition highlights include back-to-back Kentucky five-star wins, second at Maryland five-star, team silver at the European Championships and 16 international top 10 placings.

“He’s now 17 years old and although still fit and well, we’ve always said it’s important that he retires from competition on his own terms and we feel that the time has come.

“I could not be more grateful to have had the honour of partnering Cooley for all these years. He’s achieved more than we could have dreamt of and we’ve literally travelled the world together with memories that’ll last a lifetime! Huge thanks to Angela Hislop,” concluded Townend.

Meanwhile, Dougie Douglas (ISH) was also retired by Katie Dinan (USA) at the age of 17. Bred by Limerick’s John O’Brien, the Ard VDL Douglas gelding enjoyed a glittering international show jumping career.