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Friday, 16 November, 2018

'A horse of a lifetime. By God, he wanted to win' – Sherwood on Many Clouds

Remembering the equine heroes we said farewell to in 2017

Many Clouds, who died in January after a battling performance at Cheltenham
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The death of Many Clouds in January was particularly tragic because he was a popular Grand National-winning champion who embodied the spirit of the jumping game and died moments after an epic triumph.

In the Grade 2 Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham, the ten-year-old was not expected to beat King George winner Thistlecrack. His rival drew upsides in a sustained duel for the lead, but the battle-hardened warrior hit back with his usual courage to prevail by a head.

Sadly, he then collapsed and died of a severe pulmonary haemorrhage, a victim of his own indomitable will to win.

Trainer Oliver Sherwood said: “He was a horse of a lifetime. By God, he wanted to win. He died doing what he loved doing – racing and jumping.”

Many Clouds, owned by Trevor Hemmings and ridden in all of his races by Leighton Aspell, won the Grand National in 2015 by defying more weight (11st 9lb) in the race than any other winner since Red Rum. He was also the only Hennessy winner to win the National.

Based on the form of his last race, Many Clouds was surprisingly rated the champion staying chaser in the official Anglo-Irish Jumps Classifications in May, even though he had never won a Grade 1.

The Bay Oak also died minutes after passing the post in triumph – in his case in the West Wales National at Ffos Las in April.

At Cheltenham last month, Starchitect was clear with the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at his mercy when suddenly pulled up with a fatal leg injury before the second-last.

Nichols Canyon: died after a tragic fall at Leopardstown

Nichols Canyon, who numbered the Stayers' Hurdle in March among eight Grade 1 victories, took a fatal fall at Leopardstown last week, and Reve De Sivola, who scored six Grade 1 wins including three in the Long Walk Hurdle, died at Kelso in March.

Other high-profile casualties included Arpege D'Alene in the Scottish Grand National, Sir Valentino in the Tingle Creek Chase and, on the Flat, Permian and Rapper Dragon.

Permian: died at Arlington

Permian won the Dante and King Edward VII Stakes but was put down with a broken leg after finishing last in the Secretariat Stakes in Chicago in August. Rapper Dragon won the Hong Kong Derby in March but died in the Champions Mile in May.

Four horses suffered fatal injuries at the Cheltenham Festival, notably bet365 Gold Cup winner Hadrian's Approach in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase.

Five horses died at Auteuil on Easter Monday including two in France's richest handicap chase, the Prix du President de la Republique.

Three high-profile Gordon Elliott horses died in October – Triumph Hurdle runner-up Mega Fortune and unbeaten Lucky Pass when racing, and Champion Bumper-winning mare Fayonagh on the gallops.

Fayonagh: died on the gallops

Among the consequences of the devastating wildfires that ravaged southern California last month were the deaths of more than 40 thoroughbreds at San Luis Rey Training Center.

Jumpers

The best of the departed jumpers were Imperial Commander, Well Chief and Collier Bay.

Imperial Commander won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2010. The race seemed to simply concern stablemates Kauto Star and Denman, who had won the three previous renewals between them, but the Nigel Twiston-Davies star upset expectations when beating Denman by seven lengths.

Well Chief beat subsequent Gold Cup winner Kicking King in the Arkle Chase in 2004 and was superior to many winners of the Queen Mother Champion Chase, but the German-bred Pipe representative had the misfortune to come up against great champions when second to Moscow Flyer in 2005 and Master Minded in 2009.

Collier Bay upset reigning champion Alderbrook in the 1996 Champion Hurdle for trainer Jim Old and substitute jockey Graham Bradley, and he also won the Imperial Cup and Irish Champion Hurdle.

We said farewell to six Grand National winners in seven months, as Rough Quest, Red Marauder and Lord Gyllene in late 2016 were followed by Many Clouds, Amberleigh House and Papillon.

At the age of 12, Amberleigh House gave Ginger McCain a fourth victory in the big race in 2004, adding to Red Rum's three. He had been third to Monty's Pass the previous year and ran in the race five times in all.

Papillon triumphed for the Walsh family in 2000 and was last of four finishers after being remounted behind Red Marauder 12 months later.

Flat horses

The US Hall of Fame lost three members in 2017 – Holy Bull, Lure and Inside Information.

Holy Bull, who was euthanised in June aged 26, ranks among the few great champions of the last quarter-century and won eight races during his three-year-old campaign in 1994.

The grey flopped when favourite for the Kentucky Derby, and owner-trainer Jimmy Croll declined to run him at the Breeders' Cup, but he won the Florida Derby, Metropolitan Handicap, Travers Stakes and, in spectacular style by five lengths, the Woodward Stakes. He was an almost unanimous choice as Horse of the Year.

Holy Bull incurred a career-ending injury in the 1995 Donn Handicap and the winner, Cigar, succeeded him as America's champion.

Lure won the Breeders' Cup Mile twice and should have been male turf champion and Horse of the Year in 1993, but the Eclipse Award voters preferred Kotashaan, who is not yet in the Hall of Fame.

Inside Information won the 1995 Breeders' Cup Distaff by a record margin of 13 and a half-lengths. Like Lure, she was trained by Shug McGaughey.

Other departed US stars included 1999 Horse of the Year Charismatic, Hansel, the 1991 Preakness and Belmont winner, and Royal Delta, triple champion and dual Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (Distaff) winner.

Charismatic was a former claimer who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but after disputing the lead in the closing stages of his Triple Crown bid in the Belmont he faded into third place.

He was found to have broken a leg but was saved for stud duties. Not until 16 years later did American Pharoah end the long wait for another Triple Crown hero.

Among the notable deceased European Flat horses, Pentire won the King George in 1996, White Muzzle was a 'nearly' horse, coming second in two King Georges and an Arc, Sulamani landed the Prix du Jockey Club and Arlington Million, and Fame And Glory took the Irish Derby and Ascot Gold Cup.

The Tatling, one of the most popular horses of recent years, landed the King's Stand Stakes in 2004 and kept winning until the age of 14 for trainer Milton Bradley.

Stallions

The ranks of stallions lost one international celebrity, Cape Cross, and two champions, Danehill Dancer and Presenting.

Cape Cross (by Green Desert), who died in April aged 23, looked an unlikely potential breed-changing sire at the time of his sole Group 1 win – in the 1998 Lockinge as the presumed Godolphin pacemaker.

Yet his very first crop included champion filly Ouija Board and he became a mainstay of the Darley breeding operation at Kildangan Stud, with world champion Sea The Stars and European champion Golden Horn his main flag-bearers.

Danehill Dancer in 2009 became the most recent stallion apart from his Coolmore studmate Galileo to be champion sire in Britain and Ireland.

Like Cape Cross, the Phoenix and National Stakes winner exceeded expectations at stud and his offspring included Choisir, Mastercraftsman and Legatissimo. He died in March aged 24.

Presenting, a son of Mtoto who finished third in Lammtarra's Derby, was champion sire of jumpers four times before his death in August, aged 25.

The great Denman and another Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, War Of Attrition, were by the Glenview Stud stallion, as were Grand National winner Ballabriggs, Weapon's Amnesty, China Rock, First Lieutenant, Yorkhill, and three Irish Grand National winners.

The breeding world also lost Lucky Pulpit, the sire of California Chrome, and Gold Allure, the top dirt sire in Japan.


January

Helsinge 15 Dam of Black Caviar

Cool Roxy 20 11-time winner at Fakenham

Roman Ruler 15 Sire of Ruler On Ice

Many Clouds 10 2015 Grand National

February

Royal Delta 9 Champion US filly/mare 2011, 2012 & 2013

Fame And Glory 11 2009 Irish Derby, 2011 Gold Cup

Lucky Pulpit 16 Sire of California Chrome

Sulamani 18 2003 Arlington Million

Louis Quatorze 24 1996 Preakness Stakes

Gold Allure 18 Champion dirt sire in Japan

Charismatic 21 US Horse of the Year 1999

White Muzzle 27 (2nd) 1993 King George, Arc

March

Antiquarium 5 2016 Northumberland Plate

Danehill Dancer 24 Champion sire 2009

Sunday Break 18 Sire of Never On Sunday

Hadrian's Approach 10 2014 bet365 Gold Cup

Reve De Sivola 12 2012, 2013 & 2014 Long Walk Hurdle

Bellotto 33 (3rd) 1987 Derby

Big Occasion 10 2013 Midlands Grand National

April

The Tatling 20 2004 King's Stand Stakes

Imperial Commander 16 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup

Rebecca Sharp 23 1997 Coronation Stakes

Seabass 14 (3rd) 2012 Grand National

The Bay Oak 8 2017 West Wales National

Baby Zip 26 Dam of City Zip, Ghostzapper

Cape Cross 23 Sire of Sea The Stars, Golden Horn

Arpege D'Alene 7 (2nd) 2016 Pertemps Hurdle Final

Amberleigh House 25 2004 Grand National

May

Papillon 26 2000 Grand National

Heartbreak City 7 2016 Ebor, (2nd) Melbourne Cup

Rapper Dragon 4 2017 Hong Kong Derby

Big Fella Thanks 15 (4th) 2010 Grand National

Unusual Heat 27 Six-time leading sire in California

Devil His Due 28 Sire of Roses In May

Well Chief 18 2004 Arkle Chase

June

Holy Bull 26 US Horse of the Year 1994

Hansel 29 1991 Preakness & Belmont Stakes

Katarino 22 1999 Triumph Hurdle

Stormin Fever 23 Sire of Biofuel

Benchmark 26 Sire of Points Offthebench

Better Talk Now 18 2004 Breeders' Cup Turf

July

Somehow 4 2017 Dahlia Stakes

Tinners Way 27 1994 & 1995 Pacific Classic

Amadeus Wolf 14 2005 Middle Park Stakes

Ben's Cat 11 Maryland-bred Horse of the Year 2011-14

City Zip 19 Sire of Work All Week, Dayatthespa

Dr Massini 24 Sire of Massini's Maguire

August

Permian 3 2017 King Edward VII Stakes

Jack Dexter 8 2013 Chipchase Stakes

Neon Wolf 6 (2nd) 2017 Neptune Investment Nov Hurdle

Presenting 25 Four-time champion sire of jumpers

September

Memories Of Silver 24 1997 Beverly D Stakes

Ballet Concerto 4 2017 John Smith's Cup

October

Captain Forez 5 (2nd) 2017 Mersey Novices' Hurdle

Mega Fortune 4 (2nd) 2017 Triumph Hurdle

Inside Information 26 1995 Breeders' Cup Distaff

Effinex 6 2015 & 2016 Suburban Handicap

Fayonagh 6 2017 Champion Bumper

November

Lure 28 1992 & 1993 Breeders' Cup Mile

London Prize 6 2017 Imperial Cup

Pentire 25 1996 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes

December

Tour Des Champs 10 2015 Welsh National Trial

Sir Valentino 8 (3rd) 2017 Queen Mother Champion Chase

Collier Bay 27 1996 Champion Hurdle

Archipenko 13 2008 Queen Elizabeth II Cup

Starchitect 6 (2nd) 2017 BetVictor Gold Cup

Castletown 31 1991, 1992 & 1994 Wellington Cup

Nichols Canyon 7 2017 Stayers' Hurdle

Irish Cavalier 8 2016 Charlie Hall Chase


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He was also the only Hennessy winner to win the National
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