ONE of the best-loved horses in jump racing, Fruity O’Rooney, trained by Gary Moore at Cisswood Stables near Horsham, has been retired from racing at the age of 13. The decision has been taken so that he can enjoy a well-deserved retirement while he is still in good health.
He will long be remembered as an exceptionally fearless racehorse- despite being comparatively small at only 15.2hh . But what he lacked in stature he more than compensated for with his immense ability and dogged refusal to give in.
He was renowed for his brave performances and determination to get his head in front- sometimes in thrilling finishes. He was a quirky character who endeared himself to the racing public, with his will to win.
On the way, he captured the heart of the racing public and was much loved by his Heart Of The South Racing group, set up and managed from the start by father and daughter combination John Penny, now retired, and Eloise Adamski who now manages the company’s successful racing groups on the Flat and over jumps.
He has won nearly £150,000 in prize money and taken his owners to some of biggest National Hunt fixtures in the racing calendar. In his early career he was partnered in some races by jockey Philip Hide, who now trains from Cissbury Stables at Findon, where his string includes other Heart of The South Racing Group horses.
But Fruity said farewell to doting crowds at Fontwell Park in November with his subsequent regular jockey, Jamie Moore, before going on to score the final victory of his career in style at Ascot.
This was a highly competitive race where Jamie Moore ensured his willing partner got up to win by a nose from a 5-1 favourite in a valuable Handicap Chase. That really was the stuff that dreams are made of.
During his racing career, Fruity had scored nine good wins and many places for his racing group, accumulating an outstanding amount of prize money on the way. He has even had an illustrated book written and published about him by West Sussex group member AnnTyrrell, which immediately sold out.
Eloise Penny, announcing the retirement, said: “It has been a very sad decision to make, however now is the right time for this loveable horse to enjoy a well deserved retirement at the age of 13. He retires in good health and still full beans as always. It is time now for him to enjoy something less strenuous. ”
This remarkable horse’s career speaks for itself. Having started racing at the age of five, he scored 9 winds and 22 places.
He managed to finish third in the valuable SkyBet Chase at Doncster in 2012 despite a slipped saddle, and was second the same year at the Cheltenham Festival, beaten only by one length, as well as finished fifth in the Scottish Grand National and seventh in the Hennessy Gold Cup. Jamie Moore and Fruity won a prestigious Lester Award in 2014.
Eloise Penny said: “It is extremely sad to be reaching the end of an era with him. But we have every confidence this remarkable horse will thrive in a new sphere and enjoy a long and happy retirement.”
The many Fruity fans out there need not worry, there will be constant updates on what this unmatchable and lovable horse gets up to in his retirement.