Much loved Monet’s Garden dies aged 20

Date: Tuesday 27th November 2018

GREYSTOKE-trained Monet’s Garden, who became a hugely popular chaser with his flamboyant style of jumping, has died at the age of 20.

Trained throughout his career by Nicky Richards, the much loved grey scored three times at Grade I level and made history in Aintree’s Old Roan Chase— now named after him — with three wins between 2007 and 2010.

The winner of 17 of his 32 starts and £683,265 in prize-money over a career that spanned seven seasons, Monet’s Garden was bought by Richards as a three-year-old.

Following an illustrious racing career that had already made him a firm favourite with the racing public, he further established himself in people’s hearts in 2011 when he showed great courage in overcoming a life-threatening illness that had developed from a hoof infection.

Speaking to the Herald, Richards said: “He was a high class horse — you don’t get them so often,” he said. “He was like a world champion boxer. He knew how to go through the pain barrier and how to come back from defeat. It’s very unique a racehorse like that.”

He said that although trainers try to buy a certain type of horse, it is not like buying a car. “When you get an unbroken three-year-old you can’t just pop the bonnet and have a look to see if there is a V8 engine there — but he had a V8 engine sitting in him,” he said.

The trainer said he had been lucky to have some very good horses, but he would have to say Monet’s Garden was the best he had ever trained.

“You get some horses who put in one special run in their lives, but he put in a dozen outstanding runs during his career. He was out of this world some days and used to bring the house down,” he said.

Monet’s Garden was owned by David Wesley Yates who insisted on the very best of treatment for him and went on with the care long after many owners would have stopped.

Tony Dobbin, who rode Monet’s Garden for the first 23 of the gallant grey’s career starts, said: “He was just the sweetest animal, the best ride and one of the best jumpers I’ve ever sat on. He never fell, he was bold and he was quick, he could do everything.”

The pair enjoyed some great days at Aintree — including beating Kauto Star in the 2007 Old Roan Chase — and at Ascot where they won the Grade I Ascot Chase in 2007. Barry Geraghty also tasted Grade I success with Monet’s Garden in the 2010 Ascot Chase and partnered him to victory in the 2009 Old Roan Chase when Monet’s jumped like a dream from the off, never putting a foot wrong.

After his retirement, Monet’s Garden was cared for by Richards’ daughter, Jo, and the pair won a host of shows, culminating in him being named the Retraining of Racehorses Horse of the Year in 2016, when he was described by her as “the horse of a lifetime”.

Much to the delight of spectators, he has also put in appearances at local events, including Penrith and Skelton agricultural shows.