Dual Group One winner Buckle Up Wes has been retired after dropping a back muscle in a heat of Saturday night’s Paws of Thunder at Wentworth Park.
Trainer Ted Medhurst confirmed his kennel star’s retirement on Sunday, but said the dog was already back to his normal, vibrant self.
“I just let him out and if you didn’t know any different then you wouldn’t think there is anything wrong with him,” Medhurst said.
“He isn’t lame and as far as walking around he isn’t in any pain, he is as happy as a lark.”
Medhurst expressed relief it was not a more serious injury, stating the black speedster, which will turn four in June, would have been retired soon anyway.
“If it was a hock I would have been distraught,” he said. ”It is a strange thing to say but I am pleased that it wasn’t and that it was a hind muscle. It is career-ending, but he is a dog with a bit of age on him now.
“Even if he had have stayed sound and in form, he wouldn’t have had too many more starts anyway.”
Buckle Up Wes has taken Medhurst on an incredible ride. The Tasmanian champ faced the starter on 53 occasions for 30 wins and 13 minor placings with $551,965 in prizemoney earnings.
The career highlights for the son of Collision and Everlong Bale were his breathtaking wins in the 2014 Group One Australian Cup and Topgun, with the former being Medhurst’s most treasured victory.
“His Australian Cup was my favourite win, it was fantastic,” he said. ”Even now when I watch the replay I still get tingles down my spine.
“He has been the most successful dog I have trained, he has won two Group Ones and been placed in three Group Ones.”
Medhurst said it would be left up to his owners where he would stand at stud, believing the gallant greyhound has a bright future in the breeding barn.
“He is a dog people look at,” he said. ”He is a good beginner with lots of speed and he travelled throughout Australia for 18 months and raced successfully at Group level.
“He did it harder than most because he lived in Tassie; a lot of dogs he raced against only had to leave their kennel and drive to the track whereas he was on the road from the day before.
“In the end it just depends on how fickle the breeders are, but if they take a liking to him then that would be wonderful.”
As the door closes on a remarkable career, Medhurst has some emerging youngsters in his kennel looking to fill the void left by Buckle Up Wes.
Two of those, Prescribe and Dark Vito, will contest Tuesday’s Group Three Devonport Cup final and both look to have a live chance in the $25,000-to-the-winner feature.
As Medhurst comes to terms with the sudden retirement of Buckle Up Wes, he expressed how grateful he was to have been involved with the career of a greyhound which has become more like a friend to him.
“He really means a lot to us. You get very attached to them and you see that they are trying for you. It is a fantastic feeling to have a dog like it.
“Every day we get him out of the kennel we thank him for what he has done for us. I always say, ‘Thanks, Wes, you little champ’, just like we used to with Bell Haven.
“He is just a wonderful dog, it was a wonderful experience and it was just an absolute privilege to be a part of his story.”