General Tufto, Southwell Legend, Retires

The admirable General Tufto, who has made Southwell racecourse his home since first racing there on the 10th December 2008, is set to be retired after his 218th race. A permanent fixture at the Nottinghamshire course, you can view our runner by runner preview for his final appearance here, and see whether we think he has a chance of victory.

General Tufto By The Numbers

Age – 13

Races – 218

Southwell Races – 126

Wins – 17

Southwell Wins – 15

Prize Money – £72,562

His Career

A plucky, admirable underdog, who for trainer Charles Smith “runs his own race at times”, he only once appeared on a racecourse at odds-on, a race which in the true spirit of an underdog uncomfortable with the limelight, he promptly lost. He was only favourite for six of his races, and yet he still managed to collect seventeen wins, and remarkably, these wins all came at just two venues, racing sixty-two times at other venues without a single success.

Having said all that, it is not the numbers that do him justice, a horse whom encapsulates the spirit and feel of racing at the lower ends of the hierarchy. Purchased for 200,000 Guineas back in October 2006, more was most probably expected of him, a son of Fantastic Light, a seven-time Group One winner who won the Breeders’ Cup in 2001, and his dam was a Listed winner in her own right. He highlights the collective experience of thousands of racehorses, purchased for large sums but never hitting the heights expected. Simply because these admirable sorts are cast off from their famous yards, deserted by their rich owners, it does not mean that they are without ability.

Purchased subsequently for just 4,000 Guineas, General Tufto, a horse whom Charles Smith would have been willing to race everyday if possible, highlighted that there is more to racing than Royal Ascot, Godolphin and Frankie Dettori. His is the racing that is happening every day, that provides a living to thousands of men and women a year, that goes unnoticed by the majority of the country for whom a 0-65 handicap means very little.

He has out-lived many prominent features of racing in his eleven year career. His first run after gelding was at Folkestone, a racecourse that has been closed since 2012. The jockey that rode him on his racecourse debut at Newbury in September 2007, Steve Drowne retired last year, a statement that applies to a large amount of the 65 jockeys who rode him.

A racing institution, a feature of Southwell racecourse as much as the kickback from the track, we wish him the happiest of retirements. It would be safe to assume that he will probably be spending it on a beach somewhere, for he was always happiest on the sand at Southwell, although the fact that fourteen of his seventeen wins came in the winter, perhaps not. Wherever he ends up, we salute him. You can view all of our racecards for the day ahead here.

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