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Mon 14th Aug 2000, 12:04

Leading Irish jumper Danoli`s injury-plagued racing career is over.

The 12-year-old has been one of the most popular racehorses of recent years, capturing hearts and winning admiration for the bravery he showed in sealing big-race successes at Cheltenham and Aintree.

But trainer Tom Foley has admitted that the risk of aggravating leg damage first sustained at Aintree in 1995 when winning the Martell Hurdle has led to his retirement.

Foley told the Racing Post: 'We`ve been discussing the situation for some time and it has been decided to retire him.

'He`s 12 now and the injury he got at Liverpool was very, very severe at the time, so we`d hate anything to happen to him now.

'He`s given us some great memories and is a horse we`ll hardly ever see the like of again. We just don`t want to take any kind of chance with him in a chase and see him being put down.

'Two favourite wins were the Sun Alliance at Cheltenham and the Hennessy over here. Cheltenham is hard to beat and to travel there and win was beyond out wildest dreams.

'But my favourite memory was possibly when he was third to Collier Bay in the 1996 Irish Champion Hurdle. That was his first day back after his serious injury and it almost brought tears to my eyes.'

Danoli`s owner Danny O`Neill added: 'It`s a pity but all good things come to an end and, at the age of 12, his best days are over.

'We`ll put him out into a field by the house and let him run around enjoying the rest of his days.'

Danoli won 17 of his 32 starts, but for many he will be best-remembered for his success in the 1994 Sun Alliance Hurdle when backed down to 7-4 by the legions of travelling supporters who had made it across the Irish Sea.

Of that win, the Racing Post reported: 'They cheered him down to the start, they cheered him as he started, they cheered more loudly as he took the lead, and they raised the roof as he passed the post in front.'

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