Part of the family: O'Brien team heartbroken by death of veteran Creevytennant
Fergal O'Brien and his team were on Thursday still coming to terms with the emotional loss of stable stalwart Creevytennant following the 14-year-old's fatal injury at Ludlow on Wednesday.
Creevytennant, who suffered a broken shoulder when blundering and unseating conditional Connor Brace at the eighth fence in the 3m handicap chase, had been with the trainer even before he branched out on his own.
While working as head lad to Nigel Twiston-Davies, O'Brien had care of the Irish import at a point-to-point yard owned by Pat Duncan. It was in Duncan's pink and black silks that Creevytennant won nine of his 23 chase starts, gaining £71,055 in career prize-money, having been bought for just £5,000 in 2011.
"Creevy has been a real good servant to us and will be a big miss," O'Brien said on Thursday. "He was a great ride for a number of jockeys, including Sam Drinkwater, Conor Shoemark and Lilly Pinchin, and it's been a difficult time for everyone at the yard.
"I have a picture of my daughter Daisy riding him through the village when she was eight years old. We've been overwhelmed with all the messages we've had, we didn't quite realise how popular he was."
Creevytennant won three point-to-points before scoring on his rules debut at Cheltenham's hunter chase evening in May 2011.
He was pulled up in the 2013 Foxhunter won by Salsify but went on to notch another eight victories, with five of those coming at his beloved Perth, a track that really suited his trailblazing style.
Travelling head girl Tori Knight had known Creevytennant for as long as O'Brien and was in a flood of tears at Ludlow.
"He was part of the family and it was a horrible day," she said on Thursday. "He was a really friendly character even though he was one of the keenest horses I've known in his work – even at the age of 14."
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