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First Gold Aintree 01.04.04

First Gold: the 11-time career winner has died at the age of 18

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch  

King George winner First Gold dies at 18

FIRST GOLD, winner of the King George VI Chase in 2000 and two other Grade 1 chases, has died at the age of 18 at owner JP McManus’s Martinstown Stud in County Limerick, where he had been spending his retirement.

Frank Berry, McManus’s racing manager, said on Thursday: “First Gold had been suffering from laminitis. Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated over the weekend and it was decided on veterinary advice to have him put down. He was a great old servant and a very good horse who competed well at the top level over fences.”

Trained throughout his career by Francois Doumen, First Gold, who won ten times over fences, was bought by McManus after winning the King George for the Marquesa de Moratalla.

His victories for McManus included the Grade 1 Heineken Gold Cup at the Punchestown festival in April 2003, having landed the Grade 2 Martell Cognac Cup at Aintree the same month. He was ridden to both of those victories by Thierry Doumen, who partnered him to all but one of his 11 wins.

First Gold, a son of Shafoun, ran in 46 races, also winning once
over hurdles, and in addition to his victories finished in the
first three on 14 other occasions, earning total prize-money of

His first Grade 1 win came in the Prix la Haye Jousselin at
Auteuil in November 2000.

Hewas placed in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris in 2000, the John Durkan Memorial Chase in 2002, the 2003 King George VI Chase, the Martell Cognac Cup and the Heineken Gold Cup in 2004 and the Betfair Bowl at Aintree in 2005.

He was retired after blundering and unseating his rider at the 23rd fence in the 2006 John Smith’s Grand National.

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