Rich Ricci hails Vautour following fatal 'freak' accident

Rich Ricci hails Vautour following fatal 'freak' accident

Owner Rich Ricci has paid tribute to Vautour after the three-time Cheltenham Festival winner was put down following a "freak" accident on Sunday.

The seven-year-old had to be put down after breaking a leg when turned out in a field at Willie Mullins' yard.

Winner of the 2014 Supreme Novices' Hurdle, the 2015 JLT Novices' Chase and the 2016 Ryanair Chase at the Festival, Ricci pointed to that middle success as a particular highlight.

He told At The Races: "He was a hell of a horse, no doubt about it. It's very sad.

"You sit and here and you think all those races, the fall at Aintree, all the galloping, all that training and he died in a field with nothing going on. It's just one of those freak things.

"We don't know what happened. We kept him outside this year as he was a big, stuffy, gross type of horse so we took the decision to keep him outside in clear air and he had been thriving.

"He was outside during the day and inside on a evening and they went out to give him his food last night and found him lying on the ground. We don't know what happened, but it's sad and my heart went out to Willie because it's not an easy phone call to make.

"Looking back, he was extraordinary (at Cheltenham), he was a sight to see. I'll never forget that JLT run, it was something to behold.

"Of course we had all those great days, but what is sad for the sport is that I thought we never really got to the bottom of him. He never got to really tap all that potential that he had.

"Ironically, he worked brilliantly on Saturday morning and Willie said it was the first flash of brilliance since that JLT run two years ago."

While Ricci admitted his sorrow at Vautour's death, he feels the serious injury suffered by Freddy Tylicki a week ago helps to put matters into perspective.

He added: "I was watching Cork and Naas (on TV) and I looked up to see Robbie McNamara who was so eloquent and articulate in describing what he had been through and the journey Freddy Tylicki faces and I was immediately OK.

"It's sad to lose a horse but in the context of that and what has happened to other people in our game, it's OK. It's not great, it's sad but in that context, it's nothing."

More in this Section

Dalo's GAA Show: Throwback to old-school back door as Mike Quirke defends the county managerDalo's GAA Show: Throwback to old-school back door as Mike Quirke defends the county manager

Jurgen Klopp preparing Liverpool for a four-team title race next seasonJurgen Klopp preparing Liverpool for a four-team title race next season

West Ham strike late to boost survival hopes and dent Chelsea’s top four tiltWest Ham strike late to boost survival hopes and dent Chelsea’s top four tilt

Decision to axe Hogan Cup ‘leaves a bitter taste’ with Tralee CBS' semi-finalistsDecision to axe Hogan Cup ‘leaves a bitter taste’ with Tralee CBS' semi-finalists


Lifestyle

It is the fourth of May, 2007. I am coming home from work, tired and scrolling through images of Trapani, Sicily - our holiday destination in a few weeks. Nothing remarkable about the journey, until I read the story of a missing girl in Praia De Luz, Portugal.Learning Points: Give Madeleine McCann's family the space to put their lives back together

More From The Irish Examiner