Brown Panther, who gave Michael Owen, the former England striker, his first major win as a racehorse owner, was put down on Sunday after suffering an injury to a hind leg in the Irish St Leger at The Curragh, a race that he won easily in 2014.
Brown Panther was pulled up by Richard Kingscote, his jockey, approaching the home turn. The seven-year-old’s injury was too severe to be treated and he was put down shortly afterwards.
“It’s the saddest day of my life,” Owen said on Twitter. “The toughest, most honest, brilliant horse I will ever set eyes on passed away today doing the thing he loved the most.
“A shattered hind leg that was irreparable according to the first-class team at the Curragh ended his life.
“I was with him when he was born, shared an experience for seven years that will never be repeated and gave him his last kiss goodbye. “What an honour to own and breed him. I love you Panther, life will not be the same without you.”
Paul Hensey, the general manager at the Curragh, said Brown Panther had “suffered a compound fracture of his hind leg”. He added: “There were three vets with him within seconds and he was put down as unfortunately he just could not be saved.”
Brown Panther sprang to prominence with his success in the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2011, a win which left Owen visibly moved as he had been present when Brown Panther was foaled from his mare Treble Heights. “I don’t think anyone, unless you’ve actually done it, can believe the sort of feeling that you get out of it,” Owen said at the time.
Brown Panther also won the Goodwood Cup in 2013 and the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan earlier this year, and gained the sole Group One victory of his career – Owen’s first and so far only success at the highest level – in last year’s Irish St Leger. He also finished eighth in last year’s Melbourne Cup. It had seemed likely that he would be retired to stud at the end of this season.
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