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Newmill - March 06 - Edward Whitaker

Newmill: his sire Norwich was "a very good servant to breeders"

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker  

Knockhouse Stud stallion Norwich dies aged 23

NORWICH, sire of Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Newmill, died on May 14 after collapsing in his paddock at Knockhouse Stud in County Kilkenny. He was 23.

The son of Top Ville was bred by David Shirley out of the Blakeney mare Dame Julian, and was sold as a yearling for 76,000gns.

Trained by Barry Hills for Sheikh Mohammed, he was a progressive three-year-old, breaking his maiden in April and going on to win two Listed races, the Ballycorus Stakes and Hardwicke Cup, as well as the Group 3 Hungerford Stakes.

That season was tainted with controversy, as he was one of two horses at the 1990 St Leger meeting to have found to be 'nobbled'. After finishing a lacklustre fourth as 11-4 joint-favourite in the Kiveton Park Stakes, his jockey Michael Hills said: "When he cantered down to the start he was as dead as a doornail."

Both Norwich and Bravefoot, who had finished last of five as the 11-8 favourite in the Champagne Stakes, were tested positive for the tranquiliser acetylpromazine. The cases attracted extensive press coverage and led to strengthening of racecourse security.

They were among over 20 horses who 'needle man' Dermot Browne later confessed to have doped.

Knockhouse Stud owner Sean Kinsella looked past Norwich's 7f form to his stouter pedigree and acquired him in 1995 as a dual-purpose stallion. Kinsella's judgement was proved right, with the stallion producing three-time Grade 1 winner Newmill, Grade 2-winning chaser River City and classy chaser Gazza's Girl.

One of Norwich's most exciting prospects for this jumps season is Sports Line, who finished third to Captain Cee Bee in the Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown last month.

Kinsella said: "Norwich was a very good servant to the stud and to breeders. His progeny seem to thrive over 2m to 2m4f, and the best may be to come, as he covered more and better mares in the wake of Newmill's achievements."

 

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