Up until last Thursday, the most recent defeat for Quevega came on May 24, 2009, on what was to be her final start on home turf in France.
Since transferring to the stable of Willie Mulllins, the mighty mare notched a sequence of nine wins over almost five years, which finally came to an end on May 1 at Punchestown.
She went out in noble fashion, finishing just a length a quarter behind Jetson, the brother to Champion Hurdler Jezki, in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle, with her retirement being announced shortly afterwards by her owners in the Hammer & Trowel Sundicate.
Though trained in France and Ireland, it is Cheltenham with which Quevega has become synonymous, her dominance of the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle stretching to a record six consecutive victories. Her only other appearances during her time with Mullins have come at Punchestown, where she won four renewals of the race in which she ultimately made her swansong.
A daughter of Robin Des Champs, Quevega was bred by Pierre Rives and won 16 of her 24 starts, amassing £749,280 in prize-money during her career. Though her reputation is huge, the mare herself is so diminutive that Mullins even considered sending her back to France when she was first unloaded from the horsebox in his yard.
As she has proven over the years, sometimes a small frame can cloak a deceptively large heart, and few who were there to witness her final victory at the Cheltenham Festival in March, in which she had to dig deep to see off her determined stablemate Glens Melody, will forget the tenacity with which Quevega attacked her races.
Her retirement at the age of ten makes way for another of her stablemates, Annie Power, to become the unchallenged superstar of the mares’ National Hunt division, and with Quevega now embarking on her second career in the paddocks, her many fans will have to wait a few years to discover whether she can impart some of her extraordinary talent to her offspring.