'End of an era' as popular grey Thousand Stars retired
Willie Mullins' popular grey Thousand Stars has been retired due to injury at the age of 12.
The evergreen hurdler won 13 of his 80 starts and amassed well over a million euros in prize-money.
After starting his career in France 10 years ago, he joined the Mullins team in 2009 and was a regular on the jumps circuit in Ireland, England and his native country.
His last race was at Tipperary in July when he was sixth to stablemate Ivan Grozny in the Grimes Hurdle.
"He lived up his name and it's the end of an era here because Hurricane Fly and Quevega and him were the dream team," said Mullins' son and assistant, Patrick.
"He was the last man standing but he just got a small stress fracture and he'd have to stand in his box for a few weeks which was going to put him out of defending his title at Auteuil in November.
"He didn't owe us anything so we thought we'd call it a day.
"A front-running grey is always very popular, but he won Grade Ones in Ireland and France and won at the Cheltenham Festival.
"He won over two, two and a half and three miles - it's very rare to find a horse like him."
Thousand Stars is to spend his retirement with Katie Walsh, who won three times on him including the County Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2010.
Mullins added: "I believe Katie Walsh is going to take him as a hack.
"He gave Katie a Cheltenham Festival winner. She was keen and it's great he's going to a good home."