FAN FAVOURITE racehorse Lil Rockerfeller tragically died from a heart attack just moments after finishing second in a race.
The highly versatile ten-year-old – who had recently been ridden by Bryony Frost and Harry Cobden – suffered the fatal episode after passing the post in a listed contest at French racecourse Auteuil.
Earning connections more than £500,000 during a 50-race career, Lil Rockerfeller will perhaps best be remembered for his 15-length romp at Glorious Goodwood in 2018.
There was also the second-place finish in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival.
Lil Rockerfeller, who spent most of his career with Wiltshire-based trainer Neil King, won 11 races in all.
He had been transferred to Andrew Hollinshead in France for his stint abroad, though a move back to King seemed imminent.
Sadly, hopes of that reunion were cut short once his passing was confirmed.
Hollinshead said: “It was terribly sad for everyone involved.
“I’d only had him for a month and only had him because Tom George’s [trainer] temporary licence in France came to an end.
“I know how much me meant to Neil and all I wanted to do was get through yesterday and hand him back to him, so it was gutting.
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“It was horrible because he was a complete warrior of a horse. He had a heart attack pulling up, James [Reveley, jockey] gave him a super ride and looked after him all the way around and he was upset afterwards.”
Racing followers expressed their shock and sadness at the news on social media.
One upset fan wrote: “Crushing news. Absolutely gutted to hear the super tough, resilient and talented Lil Rockerfeller lost his final race and died.”
Another said: “To see the news that Lil Rockerfeller has died has broken me.”
A fellow admirer of the horse posted: “So desperately sad for Lil Rockerfeller. Such a sweet legend of a horse I was so fortunate to work with.
“Absolutely gutted, what a warrior he was.”
While another wrote: “Absolutely heartbroken. Lost for words. RIP Lil Rockerfeller.”