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The People's Champion Retired

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The People's Champion Retired

The curtains have come down on the career of one of the most admired horses seen in New Zealand in recent years, the people's champion Sir Slick (NZ), who had his final race in Awapuni at the weekend.

Now ten years old, Sir Slick (Volksraad x Miss Opera) showed that he was ready to settle into the green pastures of retirement when he ran home at the tail of the field in the Group 3 Awapuni Gold Cup.

Few would disagree there was a more fitting race for Sir Slick to finish his career on, having contested the Awapuni Gold Cup six times and winning it on three occasions: in 2007 (by 4.5 lengths), 2008 and 2010, and running second in 2009.

"He's had 151 starts and people have been asking me when I was going to retire him for some time now," said his trainer Graeme Nicholson. "I've always said I'd retire him when he was ready and he's ready now.

"Awapuni is his favourite track and I wanted to give him this final chance to show he still had that spark, but he didn't. I don't want to break him down."

Sir Slick was bred by Paul & Cushla Smithies' Monovale Holdings Ltd and was purchased by Nicholson Racing Stables from Mapperley Stud at New Zealand Bloodstock's 2003 Select Colts Yearling Sale for $48,000.

The son of the late Volksraad made his debut at Avondale on November 1 2003, running second, and didn't break his maiden until his twelfth start at Counties over a year later.

His first stakes win came in the Group 2 Japan/New Zealand International Trophy (1600m) in March 2006, with his first Group 1 victory coming 14 starts later in the Thorndon Mile in January 2007.

Sir Slick went on to claim three consecutive Group 1 races that season winning the Group 1 Waikato International Stakes (2000m) at his next start and then the Group 1 Otaki-Maori WFA Stakes (1600m).

For many, Sir Slick's most memorable victory came at Ellerslie on Boxing Day in 2007 where he became the first and only horse in New Zealand to beat the two-time Horse of the Year, Xcellent (Pentire), in the Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m).

Sir Slick's final racing record reads 151 starts for 22 wins (6 at Group 1 level), 22 seconds, 17 thirds (9 placings at Group 1 level), and $2,042,177 in stakes for his connections.


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