Ian Balding trained Forest Flower to champion juvenile filly honoursPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Champion filly Forest Flower dies aged 27
FOREST FLOWER, Europe's champion juvenile filly of 1986, was put down on Thursday at Betty Moran's Brushwood Farm in Pennsylvania. She was 27.
Bred and owned by Paul Mellon, the diminutive Forest Flower was trained by Ian Balding in a glittering two-year-old season in which she won the Queen Mary, Cherry Hinton and Mill Reef Stakes.
Forest Flower had a famous rival that season in the Charlie Nelson-trained Minstrella: Forest Flower beat her into second in the Cherry Hinton but the places were reversed in an exciting finish to the Heinz 57 Phoenix Stakes.
The Cheveley Park Stakes looked to decide champion filly honours when both lined up, but it turned out to be a controversial heat with Forest Flower beating Minstrella by two lengths after bumping her rival two furlongs from home.
The first-past-the-post survived a lengthy stewards' enquiry but connections of the runner-up successfully appealed the result and she was disqualified and placed last.
Forest Flower returned at three to assert her superiority over her old rival as well as that of the Newmarket 1,000 Guineas runner-up Milligram to take the Irish 1,000 Guineas.
Unfortunately, a virus at Kingsclere restricted her to just one more start and she was retired later that year as the winner of five of eight starts.
Forest Flower's first foal, the Listed-placed Shirley Heights colt Hill Of Dreams, proved to be the best of her seven winners. Her second foal, the Reference Point filly Hertford Castle, was unplaced but has since produced three stakes runners - Castilian, Safarando and Quiet Storm - while a later filly by Nashwan, Flower Arch, is the dam of the stakes-placed Japanese runner Best Of Me.
Forest Flower was by Green Forest and out of Fillies' Mile and Lingfield Oaks Trial winner Leap Lively, whose other progeny included the dam of multiple Grade 1 winner and sire High Yield.