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Mick Appleby: 'It's very sad - Big Country was a great servant to the yard'

Big Country: fatally injured at Wolverhampton on Saturday
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Mick Appleby paid tribute to his 'great servant' Big Country after the seven-year-old died in an incident at Wolverhampton on Saturday.

A winner of seven of his 40 starts, The Horse Watchers-owned star was fatally injured rounding the bend in the 1m1½f handicap causing him to veer left, bumping into the Jimmy Quinn-ridden Daheer and sending them both crashing through the rails.

Quinn was taken to hospital with suspected broken ribs, although Daheer and Big Country's jockey Luke Morris were both unscathed. 

"We're all absolutely gutted at what’s happened," Appleby said. "It's very sad for the owners and he's been a great servant to the yard. Once he was in front he was such a tough horse." 

Big Country, who was rated 109 at his peak, had his finest days in the summer of 2018 when he won the Zetland Gold Cup at Redcar and the Listed Pomfret Stakes at Pontefract, both under Silvestre de Sousa.

The son of High Chaparral had been sold and switched to Jamie Osborne's yard last year before returning to Appleby in the autumn, and won for the first time in over two years at Chelmsford a fortnight ago.

Appleby added: "We were delighted to get him back and we won with him last time out. He was in great form and we expected him to win again today. It's very sad for everyone in the yard."

The Simon and Ed Crisford-trained Make It Rain, ridden by Jack Mitchell, continued his excellent all-weather form to win the race by half a length from Born To Be Alive.

Results, replays and analysis

Saturday's reports and reaction:

'We've just won the King George!' – Frodon and Bryony Frost light up Kempton

Members' Club: it's Queen Bryony in the King George as Frost ends our horrid year in happiness

Saturday reaction: 'Epatante has given hope to those thinking of taking her on'

Members' Club: 'Bryony Frost's tactics were superb' – how the star jockey won the King George

Silver Streak gains deserved Grade 1 win in Christmas Hurdle as Epatante falters

Jumping wins the day as Shan Blue leaves Skelton brothers purring in Kauto Star

Triumph Hurdle favourite Zanahiyr passes Christmas test with flying colours

Cool Bryan Cooper collects 36th Grade 1 on Franco De Port for surprised Mullins

Stenson makes most of opportunity on Diol Ker to get off the mark for Meade

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He was in great form and we expected him to win again today. It's very sad for everyone in the yard
E.W. Terms