Old Vic: the first-crop son of Sadler's Wells wins the Irish DerbyPICTURE: Caroline Norris
Brilliant racehorse and jumps sire Old Vic dies
OLD VIC, the brilliant winner of the French and Irish Derbys in 1989 and a leading light of the National Hunt stallion ranks, was put down on Monday after suffering a bout of colic at Sunnyhill Stud in County Kildare. He was 25.
Trained by Henry Cecil for Sheikh Mohammed, Old Vic was a first-crop son of Sadler's Wells and was instrumental in establishing his sire's reputation.
An easy six-length victory in a 1m Haydock maiden at two marked Old Vic down as a horse full of promise, yet he was slightly overshadowed at that point by a strong Warren Place juvenile battalion that included Citidancer, High Estate and Thorn Dance.
But Old Vic's exploits at three eclipsed those of his stablemates. After winning the Burghclere Stakes, the Sandown Classic Trial and Chester Vase by an aggregate 16 and a half lengths, he went to Chantilly for the Prix du Jockey Club instead of Epsom for the Derby in search of his favoured easier going and made most of the running under Steve Cauthen to trot up by seven lengths. Four weeks later Old Vic won the Irish Derby, again unchallenged.
Cecil said: "It's so sad to hear the death of Old Vic. He really was a very good horse, winning the French and Irish Derbys among other top races.
"One of his greatest feats was winning the Irish Derby with an abscess in the saddle area twice the size of a golf ball, and I had to use a number of foam pads with a hole cut out to enable him to take part."
Old Vic developed into a top jumps sire, finishing in the top two by progeny earnings each season from 2005-06 to 2009-10, including when champion in 2007-08.
His best jumps progeny include Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Kicking King, Betfair Chase scorer Snoopy Loopy and high-class Racing Demon - as well as two Grand National winners in Comply Or Die and Don't Push It.
Old Vic was bred by Bob McCreery at Stowell Hill Stud in Somerset out of Cockade, a sister to 2,000 Guineas winner High Top, and he was purchased on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed for 230,000gns at the Highflyer yearling sales.