Champion racehorse and jumps sire Old Vic, winner of both the French and Irish Derbys in 1989, has died at the age of 25.
Steve Cauthen on yesterday remembered the “fierce determination” of his former mount, who died on Monday.
Cauthen was on board for Old Vic’s impressive front-running victories in the 1989 Prix du Jockey Club and Irish Derby, as a result of which he was named joint horse of the year alongside Zilzal, the pair’s official rating of 134 being 3lb higher than that given to Nashwan the same season.
After retiring to stud aged four, the son of Sadler’s Wells established himself as one of the industry’s top jumps stallions, siring two Grand National winners in Comply Or Die and Don’t Push It as well as Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Kicking King.
“He was a tremendous galloper with fierce determination,” said Cauthen.
“He was really suited by Chantilly and the Curragh and he was a brilliant winner at both tracks. Looking back, I find it very hard to separate Old Vic, Slip Anchor and Reference Point.”
In his three-year-old season, Old Vic rarely had to battle, winning his five races by a combined total of 30 lengths.
Following easy wins in the Sandown Classic Trial and Chester Vase, he then became Britain’s first 20th century winner of the Prix du Jockey Club when demolishing the Chantilly field by seven lengths.
Four weeks later at the Curragh, he carried Sheikh Mohammed’s colours to a similarly impressive success, imperiously justifying odds of 4-11 but only after overcoming a late health scare.
“It’s so sad to hear of the death of Old Vic,” said trainer Henry Cecil.
“He really was a very good horse, winning the French and Irish Derbys among other top races. He also became a very good National Hunt sire.”