Binocular sight to behold: McCoy
Champion jockey Tony McCoy paid handsome tribute to Binocular after the former Champion Hurdle winner was retired following the discovery of an underlying heart problem.
McCoy, closing in on a 19th successive champion jockey crown, labelled the Nicky Henderson-trained, JP McManus-owned nine-year-old as the quickest jumper of a hurdle he has ever ridden.
The Ulsterman, who also won the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on Make A Stand in 1997 and on Brave Inca in 2006, rode Binocular in 20 of his 22 races over timber, amassing £800,000 in prize money.
He said: "He was the fastest horse to get from one side of a hurdle to the other that I've ever ridden and I think only Make A Stand could even compare to him.
"He deserves the happy retirement that he's now going to enjoy at Martinstown (McManus's stud in Ireland)."
Binocular arrived at Seven Barrows in 2007 before making a winning debut as a four-year-old at Ascot in January 2008.
Two months later he ran in the Supreme Novices Hurdle rather than the Triumph Hurdle but Captain Cee Bee, also owned by McManus, had not read the script and beat Binocular by two lengths.
Kept to his own age group at Aintree a month later he beat the Triumph Hurdle winner Celestial Halo by seven lengths.
The following year Binocular won twice before finishing third to Punjabi in the Champion Hurdle, beaten half a length as the 6-4 favourite.
He won the Champion Hurdle the following season by three and a half lengths from Khyber Kim.
He won two subsequent Christmas Hurdles at Kempton but in two runs last season showed little of his old spark at Leopardstown and in the Champion Hurdle, in which he was beaten 28 lengths by Ulster-owned Hurricane Fly.