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So Long Bart and Thanks for The Memories
For a horse who was, at one stage, the undisputed feature race quinella king of Australian racing, Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars) was the antithesis of his moniker, never shirking his task until he had no more to give except blood. Perhaps it was metaphorical justice that, by bleeding from both nostrils at Belmont Park in Perth’s Gr3 Hyperion Stakes on Saturday, connections had little choice but to call it a day. Following more comebacks than Rocky, including a $101 uppercut in last year’s Gr1 Underwood Stakes, the sandgroper pugilist finished last for the second time in a row after the ignominy – for him at least – of having done likewise in the Gr3 Roma Cup. Now almost a 10-year-old, Black Heart Bart has reached the stage where the head says go but the legs say no. From the family of Savabeel and Arlington, Bart’s glowing first two results in Group 1 races alone – well into double figures – blur to such an extent as to become as meaningless as the almost $5 million in earnings. What will linger longest are the memories of a thoroughbred prize-fighter sometimes beaten, but never bowed.