Cheltenham cross-country legend Spot Thedifference dies at the age of 25
Spot Thedifference, a star performer in cross-country races at Cheltenham, has died at owner JP McManus's Martinstown Stud in County Limerick at the age of 25.
Trained throughout his career by Enda Bolger, Spot Thedifference will always be associated with the late John Thomas McNamara, who rode him to 11 of his 14 wins during a 51-race career.
McNamara rode him to all seven of his cross-country wins at Cheltenham, which included a victory at the festival in 2005, and was also on board for Spot Thedifference's two wins in the La Touche Cup at Punchestown in 2004 and 2007.
He also rode him in his final race, when he won at Cheltenham in November 2007 at the age of 14.
The other riders who won races on Spot Thedifference are Ruby Walsh, who rode him to handicap chase wins at Roscommon and Kilbeggan in the summer of 2001, and Mark Grant, who rode him to his first racecourse win in a hunter chase at Clonmel in 1999.
Recalling Spot Thedifference's career, Bolger said on Thursday: "I used to get a great kick out of watching him and John Thomas in action. They were two tough hardy characters and they gelled really well together.
"He was a treat to train and gave us many great days. In addition to all his wins, he ran in the Grand National four times and finished fifth behind Amberleigh House in 2004. He was going well in the race in 2002 when he was badly hampered and knocked out of the race four out."
Bolger added: "He had ten great years of retirement with some of his old buddies at Martinstown."
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