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Former star two-mile chaser Well Chief dies of colic at the age of 18

Well Chief and Timmy Murphy won the Connaught Chase in 2009
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Well Chief has died at the age of 18 after suffering from colic at his former rider Timmy Murphy's farm in Gloucestershire. 

Well Chief carried the famous blue and emerald silks of the late David Johnson throughout his career in Britain, during which time he became one of the most popular chasers in training, earning recognition for his clashes with Moscow Flyer and Azertyuiop.

While the German-bred son of Night Shift often came off second- or third-best he contributed to some of the most iconic battles of the mid-2000s, as well as winning an Arkle, beating Kicking King, winning a Celebration Chase, when thrashing Azertyuiop, and landing a Victor Chandler Chase under top weight.

Well Chief also overcame two separate layoffs – each of nearly two years – for leg issues, returning in 2009 to finish second to Master Minded in the Queen Mother Champion Chase on his first start for 698 days.

Well Chief and Timmy Murphy (right of picture) beat Azertyuiop in the 2005 Celebration Chase at Sandown
"He was part of a golden era when Moscow Flyer, himself and Azertyuiop were around," said David Pipe, who took over the licence at Pond House from father Martin halfway through Well Chief's first injury layoff. "The 2004 Tingle Creek is one of my favourite races, even though we didn’t win. It was a fantastic race to watch and it’s what steeplechasing is all about."

Pipe added: "He was a real character and just a very good horse. He was fragile and he wasn’t bought to be as good as he was but he could jump and had a big heart. He had the engine and ability to win a Queen Mother Champion Chase but when he was at his peak it was a very competitive era. There would have been plenty of Champion Chases he may well have won, but that's life."

He had the engine and ability to have won a Champion Chase and whenever he was running at his peak it was in very competitive eras
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