Katchit: bravely holding on to win the Champion Hurdle at CheltenhamPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Champion Hurdle winner Katchit dies
KATCHIT, winner of the Champion Hurdle in 2008, has died of colic at the age of ten.
Initially trained on the Flat by Mick Channon, Katchit joined Alan King for a juvenile hurdling campaign which ended with success in the Triumph Hurdle in 2007.
The following season the son of Kalanasi was beaten in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle and International Hurdle, but roared back to form under Robert Thornton to capture the Champion Hurdle, becoming the first five-year-old to win the prestigious Grade 1 since See You Then in 1985.
That was his final victory but he remained a popular horse, although injuries limited his appearances on the track.
King said: "He had colic and underwent a couple of operations in the last week or so, but took a turn for the worst last night and the vets put him down. We weren't going to let him suffer.
"He leaves a huge hole at Barbury and was marvellous for the owners, for Choc [Thornton] and the whole team at the yard.
Alan King: "I will never train a tougher horse than Katchit"PICTURE: Edward Whitaker
"I will never forget those two marvellous first seasons we had with him when he went from strength to strength and exceeded all our expectations. I will never train a tougher horse."
Thornton, who rode Katchit in all but two of his starts over hurdles, also paid tribute.
The 'little warrior' raced in the colours of the D S J P Syndicate, which includes David Bellamy.
"This is dream time," he said after the Champion Hurdle. "Katchit is one of those horses everyone loves - an underdog who keeps doing it and doing it."
Katchit won 11 of his 40 starts, ten of those successes coming over hurdles, and £599,708 in prize-money.