Smart sprint handicapper Texas Gold dies at age of 19
William Muir has paid tribute to a horse he called one of his "nearest and dearest" after Texas Gold, a smart sprint handicapper in his pomp, collapsed and died of a heart attack at the trainer's Lambourn yard on Tuesday night.
Aged 19, Texas Gold made 102 starts, winning 15 times and being placed on another 26 outings, earning £216,891 in prize-money.
He graduated to Pattern level and made the frame in the Group 3 Dubai International Airport World Trophy at Newbury in 2004.
"He was really good, a very consistent individual," Muir said. "He started off on a measly handicap mark of 50 and got up to 106. He was fantastic for me.
"We turn a lot of horses out and they are great babysitters who have had wonderful lives and my wife and daughter wouldn't even let them sleep out in the summer in case there was any rain.
"It was a sad night for everyone at the yard because he's been such a special part of our training lives and then as a family friend, like an old saint – one of those proper old horses.
"Texas Gold was 19, so he'd had a good innings and he didn't have any stress or strain, and had his pal Alpen Wolf with him."
Recalling his favourite Texas Gold moment, Muir added: "We were going to run in the Stewards' Cup in 2005, but it rained and rained and he hated it when the ground was easy. We were at Goodwood and I said to the owners we should withdraw him, but the following week we could go to Haydock for another race.
"Kieren Fallon rode him at Haydock and he went to make his move a furlong out, but got absolutely boxed to pieces, so took a pull, moved to the outside and passed the field within three strides, going away. You thought in a sprint it was over, but he flew and I always think of that race."