CHIPPING Norton trainer Charlie Longsdon has paid tribute to Loose Chips after announcing his stable stalwart’s retirement.

The 14-year-old had been due to make his farewell appearance in the new £50,000 Conditional Jockeys’ Veterans Chase Series Final at Newbury last Saturday.

But with British racing being suspended until at least the end of April due to the coronavirus outbreak, it meant Loose Chips missed out on his swansong.

The gelding won 11 of his 62 starts, including the 2015 Grand Military Gold Cup at Sandown and twice at Kempton on Boxing Day, earning career prize-money of £180,489.

His last success came with a typically game front-running performance on his penultimate start, at Plumpton in January.

Longsdon said: “He has been a huge character from very early in our training career, running at many of the big meetings.

“He raced for nine consecutive seasons, never having a lame step and wore blinkers from as early as 2012 all the way through until this season.”

Loose Chips spent his summers at Claire Hardwick’s point-to-point and pre-training yard at Adlestrop, near Moreton-in-Marsh.

It will be his retirement home, with the plan for him to lead the younger horses.

Longsdon, meanwhile, saddled the last winner of what turned out to be the final race of the season.

Glencassley made all the running to take a National Hunt Flat Race at Wetherby by a length and three-quarters under Aidan Coleman.

The trainer said: “We have always thought he was a lovely horse and the form of his previous two races looked very strong, so he was entitled to win.”

It saw the master of Hull Farm Stables end the campaign with 29 winners, earning £287,152 in total prize-money.

He reflected: “In what has been a very transitional season, I cannot really complain, and if the season had carried on we were on target to match last season’s total.

“We do have a lot of very nice youngsters, so if all goes according to plan we can look forward to running in some bigger races again next season.”