One of the country’s top racehorses has been killed in a freak road accident.
Brindisi Breeze, a hero at Cheltenham Festival, died after being hit by a tanker at 2.30am on Saturday after he jumped out of his paddock at trainer Lucinda Russell’s Arlary House Stables near Milnathort, Kinross. He died instantly.
The horse was the first Cheltenham Festival winner for ten years after winning the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle decisively last March.
The horse's owner Sandy Seymour said he was "immensely proud" of the achievement's of the animal, who he said had "captured the attention of the public" after the Cheltenham win.
He said: “This is to date the saddest thing I have had to do publicly. I say “had” because I feel my horse, Brindisi Breeze, had already, in his tragically short career, formed a huge fan club and he had become one of those special athletes who instantly capture the attention of the public at large.
"I was not at all jealous of this, I was immensely proud, as I knew that he was such a kind and generous animal, who had not a shred of arrogance, he would also have been proud to be your hero.
"I cannot express how much I feel for all of the staff at Arlary and Kilduff and all of the jockeys. I hope they can recover relatively quickly and give the same attention that they have been, to all of the other fantastic animals in their charge.
"I would also like to pay tribute to Lucinda and Peter (Scu) and re-assure them that they are not to blame and that they must not even think about what they could have done differently.
"However, me and my family and some close friends have been so lucky to have enjoyed our seven month spell, yes, so short, and to have wonderful memories of his achievements.
"It only remains for me to thank everyone who has texted, e-mailed, telephoned and posted on this and various web sites, for the condolences which are accepted humbly and are much needed.”
Trainer Lucinda Russell added that everyone at the stables had been "deeply upset" by the death.
Ms Russell said: “Brindisi Breeze was Scotland’s first Cheltenham Festival winner for ten years when winning the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle decisively last March. He will be sorely missed by the whole yard and especially his sporting owner Sandy Seymour who adored his horse.
“To go from the pride of standing at Cheltenham watching Brindisi stride up the hill to victory to the devastation the bizarre incident leaves me deeply saddened. With the love and the care that is given to these wonderful athletes, to lose any of them is difficult but when it is a horse who has achieved so much in his short life it is deeply upsetting. It will be hard to overcome.
“Here at Arlary we have a strong team of owners, horses and staff who have all been affected by Brindisi's greatness and his loss. Each one of us have special memories of him, and we will never forget his kind, honest nature and his untapped talent.”
A spokeswoman for Tayside Police said: “We were notified at 2.30am on Saturday that there had been a collision between a horse and a tanker on the A977 near to the Crook of Devon. Police attended and made inquiries.”
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