Foul play ruled out in death of Marquesa de Moratalla
The preliminary findings of an autopsy into the death of leading racehorse owner Marquesa de Moratalla have found no evidence of foul play.
The Marquesa died last week aged 87, but there was subsequent controversy when her son Forester Labrouche claimed she was murdered, although he did not specify how or why his mother was killed.
The autopsy, conducted by the prosecutor's office in Bayonne, France, did not substantiate such allegations. The initial findings await toxicological analyses, but the marquesa was found to have a major pulmonary infection and the results "excluded the intervention of a third party" in her death.
Labrouche is contesting the family fortune, which is reportedly worth more than £1 billion, with the marquesa's adopted son, German de la Cruz.
Labrouche claims he was prevented from seeing his mother by De La Cruz in the final years of her life, and earlier last month, while the marquesa was still alive, he went to court to contest a mandate she had signed handing the management of her fortune to De La Cruz.
The marquesa enjoyed Classic success on the Flat but gained her most memorable triumphs over jumps. Her colours were carried to victory in the 1990s in four out of five runnings of the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris with three different horses: The Fellow, dual winner Ucello and Ubu.
The Fellow went on to land the King George twice, in 1991 and 1992, and, after two short-head defeats and a fourth, landed the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1994.