Dual Cheltenham Festival winner Monsignor has died

Last Updated: 30/12/13 3:42pm

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Monsignor: Has died at age 19

Monsignor: Has died at age 19

Sky Bet

Dual Cheltenham Festival winner Monsignor - latterly an equine ambassador for ex-racehorse charity Homing Ex-Racehorses Organisation Scheme (HEROS) - has died aged 19.

The chestnut gelding was put down on Friday after injuring his left fore in the field at home at North Farm Stud in Oxfordshire. Earlier in the year he'd damaged the tendon in the same leg and HEROS decided that the injury was too severe to put him through any more treatment and box rest.

Monsignor won eight of his 10 career starts with victories including a defeat of Best Mate in the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle as well as the 1999 Champion Bumper and the Royal and Sun Alliance Novice Hurdle, which he took in record time, at the following year's Cheltenham Festival.

Comebacks were often mooted but he never returned to the track after that victory and was retired due to a tendon injury and was gifted to HEROS by owner Malcolm Denmark in 2006.

In his retirement he was an equine ambassador for the charity - going out to racecourses in "Meet the Racehorse" sessions and parading at Lambourn and Epsom open days.

Last year he was asked to carry the Olympic Torch and Frankie Dettori around the parade ring at Ascot.

"I have known him for what seems like forever and he will leave a huge gap in our lives," Grace Muir of HEROS told www.horseandhound.co.uk.

"He was a great character, a kind and gentle giant who nevertheless had a great zest for life. A huge thank you to Monsignor for all he has done for HEROS and we will always treasure the times we had with him".

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