First-season sire Unencumbered dies aged six due to chondritis
First-season sire Unencumbered has died after suffering complications from throat surgery having been diagnosed with chondritis, a progressive inflammatory condition of the throat.
"We are devastated as you would expect," said Peter Liston, owner of Three Bridges Thoroughbreds, who stood the son of Testa Rossa.
"Unencumbered was a special horse with such a great personality - everyone that has ever come into contact with him will miss him terribly.
"He put his trainer Bjorn Baker on the map and his memorable win in the 2014 Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic at the Gold Coast, with Nathan Berry in the saddle, was a fairy-tale result for his big group of owners.
"He has been well supported by breeders since retiring to stud here with us, covering over 500 mares in his first four seasons at stud, and last spring was his fourth consecutive season of covering over 100 mares. Unencumbered will no doubt leave his mark."
Unencumbered was purchased for A$70,000 (£38,500/€43,900) at the Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the Newhaven Park draft and is out of the Listed-winning More Than Ready mare Blizzardly.
He was retired as a juvenile to stand at Three Bridges Thoroughbreds having won five of his ten starts for total career prize-money of A$1,908,850.
The son of Testa Rossa landed the Wyong Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic by a length, before going on to take out the Group 3 BJ McLachlan Stakes.
The following January he contested the Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic, which he won by a decisive three quarters of a length, though he managed only a lacklustre fifth behind Mossfun in the Silver Slipper Stakes at Rosehill.
Unencumbered then returned to Rosehill and ran a good second in the Group 2 Todman Stakes sprint to Ghibellines.
To date Unencumbered has had 18 starters, four of whom have been placed.
Unencumbered was ridden to all five of his career wins by the late Nathan Berry, the identical twin brother of fellow jockey Tommy Berry. Nathan Berry died in April 2014 from Norse syndrome, an acute form of epilepsy.
Following the announcement of the stallions death, Baker posted the following tribute on Twitter:
1/2: Gutted to hear of Unencumbered's passing this morning. He was a wonderful horse who holds a special place in my heart - not just because of his feats on the racetrack and the breeding barn, and his partnership with my mate Nathan Berry (cont...) pic.twitter.com/E23SyNETqu— Bjorn Baker Racing (@BBakerRacing) March 20, 2018
2/2 but also because he was such a gorgeous specimen loved by his owners, a firm favourite with the staff and such a laid-back dude. Condolences to the team at Three Bridges, and all who had close links with him. We'll all miss him. #UpTheCumcumber #RIP pic.twitter.com/1xlTvrtiLo— Bjorn Baker Racing (@BBakerRacing) March 20, 2018