Irish jumps hero Papillon dies at 25


Another noted Grand National Steeplechase winner has died, with the passing of 2000 victor Papillon only days after colic claimed 2004 winner Amberleigh House.

Papillon, who was trained by Ted Walsh and ridden by his son, Ruby, to win the Aintree feature, died on May 3 at the age of 26.

The Irish trained son of Lafontaine was owned by American Betty Moran, who took some persuasion to allow Papillon to run in the National.

Papillon had started the day with odds of 33-1 but was backed down to 10-1 by the time the race began.

It was the first Grand National ride for Ruby Walsh, 20.

“Papillon was amazing. He was something special. Aintree will always be the highlight, but we had a lot of brilliant days with him along the way. He was a brilliant horse to ride – talk about jumping, he was electric,” Walsh told the Racing Post.

In 2001 Papillon returned to Aintree to defend his winning record. But the race was run on very heavy ground and Papillon carried more weight. He was brought down at the 19th fence but Ruby Walsh realised there would be few completions and remounted the horse to finish last of the four finishers, earning £25,000 for doing so.

Papillon was retired at the end of the 2002-03 season, with earnings of more than £400,000.

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