The 2017 Vodacom Durban July hero Marinaresco has been forced to retire after suffering a knee injury while preparing for a campaign in Singapore.

“Marinaresco was found to have a knee chip and had arthroscopic knee surgery after arriving in Singapore, and now has a stress fracture in the same area.

“After consultation with my partners, as well as Candice Bass-Robinson and Ricky le Grange we have decided to call it quits” said a sombre Marsh Shirtliff, in whose immediately recognisable white blue and pink silks the diminutive dynamo appeared.

“I have been in denial since this happened, and I’m so sorry this amazing horse couldn’t run in Singapore.

“Pocket Power was quirky, but this little guy was a special character who loved people. He hated other animals though and would lash out. He is going to be brought back home, and will be given a retirement a horse of his stature deserves” concluded an obviously upset Shirtliff.

Marinaresco made great strides after being gelded in January 2016, winning the first two legs of the Cape Winter Series with ease before being supplemented into the July.

And he finished best of all but failed by a neck to get to shock winner The Conglomerate.

His first Grade 1 win was only delayed briefly though, as he returned to Greyville at the end of the month to take the Champions Challenge comfortably .

And he continued his love affair with that track a year later. He got up late to win the Grade 2 Drill Hall before his heart stopping and career defining triumph on July 1 2017.

Allowed to start at an amazing 17-1 after a flat effort in the Gold Challenge, the son of Silvano looked set for a minor place at best coming to the final 200m.

But under one of the greatest rides of Bernard Fayd’Herbe’s illustrious career, he got up down the inside to shade Al Sahem in a desperate finish where just over half a length covered the first five past the post.

And his rider that day has fond memories.

“An unbelievable horse. On his day a real special one, as he showed when carrying 60kg and beating the best in the country in the July.

“Then in Dubai he wasn’t disgraced against some proper European Grade 1 stayers. He really thrived when travelling, underlined by the fact that he scored all his biggest wins in KZN” commented Fayd’Herbe, who is recovering from an injury setback himself.

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