Borders horse dies tragically after race

Saddened trainer Sandy Forster is taking comfort from messages of support after the death of veteran horse Claud and Goldie at the weekend.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 6:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 1:49 pm
'A true gentleman of a horse' - Yetholm trainer Sandy Forster's memory of Claude And Goldie, who sadly died after Sunday's Scottish Grand National at Ayr. With them, right, is Clive Storey.

The 12-year-old chestnut gelding collapsed and died on Sunday, soon after finishing ninth in the £150,000 Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr.

He was part of a big Scottish-trained contingent on race day and had been among those tipped to do well.

Sandy, of Yetholm, was grateful for the messages she received and also took comfort from the fact the horse did not suffer.

”I have had hundreds of lovely messages, emails, and things, from people I don’t even know,” she said.

“I probably didn’t realise the support he did have, locally and further afield.

"For himself, one thing I do know is he didn’t suffer. He ran an absolute blinder of a race and I couldn’t be prouder of him. As a horse, he was just the biggest, gentlest giant. A complete gentleman of a horse – so it's just heartbreaking.”

Sandy said she hadn’t needed to give instructions to jockey Richie McLernon who, she said, had ridden Claud and Goldie many times and knew what he was doing.

“He was just galloping along within himself the whole way," added Sandy. “It’s just one of these heartbreaking things that happens. He would not have known anything about it, so that’s the main consolation I can take from it.”

Claud and Goldie had won previously at his home course of Kelso, including the Edinburgh Gin Chase there in February.

Sandy, granddaughter of Ken Oliver, who captured the Scottish Grand National title a record-equalling five times as a trainer and once as a, amateur rider, has around eight racehorses at her Yetholm stables, so the loss of one of her best is even more deeply felt.

“We are just a little yard, so that makes it harder too,” she said. “We have not got the firepower of some of the others."

Sandy also paid tribute to amateur rider Lorna Brooke, who died this week after fall earlier in the month at Taunton, saying: “It puts it into perspective. It’s just sad.”

Looking ahead, Sandy said it would have to rain soon for her horses to compete, although she had hoped to have an entrant at Wednesday’s meeting in Perth.