Horse racing says goodbye to three heroes

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Cummings’ “heavenly” Melbourne Cup winner dies at 24

Australia’s champion racehorse of 1997 and Melbourne Cup winner Saintly has died at the age of 24.

The giant chestnut gelding by Sky Chase out of All Grace (Sir Tristram) was bred by his trainer, the late Bart Cummings, who owned him in partnership with Malaysian businessman Dato Tan Chin Nam.

Saintly and Darren Beadman.

Saintly won the 1996 Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup. His death on December 16, at Cummings’ Princes Farm, in New South Wales was announced by Anthony Cummings on Friday morning.

“Saintly, the horse from heaven, has gone home. He gave us so much,” Cummings said.

He gained the moniker ‘The horse from heaven’ because of his name and his partnership with jockey Darren Beadman, who at the time was a proclaimed born-again Christian.

Saintly was retired from racing in 1997 after winning 10 races and $A3.8 million.

Shergar’s jockey Walter Swinburn dies at 55

Legendary British jockey Walter Swinburn, who rode Shergar to win the 1981 Epsom Derby, died on Monday at the age of 55.

Swinburn – nicknamed the Choirboy – reportedly suffered from epilepsy. He died peacefully at his home.

As well as his Derby win on Shergar, Swinburn also won the Epsom feature on Shahrastani in 1986 and Lammtarra in 1995. A year later he almost died after an accident at Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong, when he was catapulted into the running rail, suffering multiple injuries, including a punctured lung. He was in a coma for four days.

The winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Breeders’ Cup Turf retired from race riding in 2000. As a trainer he saddled more than 250 winners, but handed in his licence in 2011.

NZ’s Aintree Grand National winner passes at 28

Lord Gyllene, the New Zealand-bred winner of the rescheduled ‘bomb scare’ Grand National Steeplechase at Aintree in 1997, has died at the age of 28.

The son of Ring The Bell took the lead at Aintree after the second fence in the hands of Tony Dobbin before going on to triumph by 25 lengths. Lord Gyllene won two jumps races in New Zealand before being bought and sent to England where he was trained by Steve Brookshaw.

The gelding, who was retired in 2001 because of injury, had just 13 starts with seven of them at Uttoxeter, which was owned by the late Sir Stanley Clarke, in whose colours the horse ran.

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