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Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

Marquesa de Moratalla, owner of Gold Cup hero The Fellow, dies aged 87

Marquesa de Moratalla: enjoyed major successes with horses trained by Francois Doumen
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The Marquesa de Moratalla, for many years a leading owner in France best known in Britain for her success with Francois Doumen-trained jumpers including 1994 Gold Cup winner The Fellow, has died aged 87.

A Spanish noblewoman whose brother, the Marques de Portago, rode Garde Toi to finish third in the 1950 Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Marquesa became a prominent owner in France in the 1970s – the vast majority of her horses would be trained in France.

She recorded her first Group 1 win in 1982, courtesy of The Wonder in the Prix Jacques Le Marois. She also enjoyed Classic success on the Flat in France, with Hours After winning the Prix du Jockey Club under Pat Eddery in 1988 and Tin Horse the Prix d'Essai des Poulains some 23 years later.

It was as a jumps owner that her most memorable successes came, however. In the early 90s, her colours were carried to success in four out of five renewals of the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris with three different horses: The Fellow, dual winner Ucello and Ubu.

The Fellow went on to twice land the King George, in 1991 and 1992 and, after two short-head defeats and a fourth, eventually won the 1994 Cheltenham Gold Cup under Adam Kondrat.

First Gold, another Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris winner, brought a third King George in 2000 and was subsequently sold to JP McManus.

The Marquesa, christened Soledad and known as Sol to her friends, who included commentator Sir Peter O'Sullevan, died on Wednesday in Biarritz, where she had lived for many years.


Full name Maria de la Soledad Cabeza de Vaca y Leighton, Marquesa de Moratalla

Born London, June 28, 1930

Family Father Antonio, Marques de Portago, Grandee of Spain. Mother Olga Leighton Mackey (daughter of Edward Leighton, widow of US financier Frank Mackey). Brother: Alfonso, Marques de Portago. Husband: Marques de Moratalla

Cheltenham Gold Cup winner The Fellow (1994)

Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris winners The Fellow (1991), Ucello (1993, 1994), Ubu (1995), First Gold (1998)

Grande Course de Haies d'Auteuil winner Ubu (1992, 1993)

Prix du Jockey Club winner Hours After (1988)

Poule d'Essai des Poulains winner Tin Horse (2011)

King George VI Chase winners The Fellow (1991, 1992), Algan (1994), First Gold (2000)

Prix La Haye Jousselin winner The Fellow (1990), Ucello (1992), First Gold (2000)

Prix du President de la Republique winners Blacklock (1965), Algan (1993), Alt'Ela (1994)

Anniversary Hurdle & Tingle Creek Chase winner Sybillin (1990, 1993)

Prix Jacques le Marois winner The Wonder (1982)

Prix Ganay winner Corre Caminos (2006)

Prix Morny winner Charge D'Affaires (1997)

King's Stand Stakes winner Chineur (2005)

Cesarewitch & Coral Cup winner Trainglot (1990, 1996)

Compiled by John Randall


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She recorded her first Group 1 win in 1982, courtesy of The Wonder in the Prix Jacques Le Marois
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