Vautour has died in freak accident at Mullins yard
Ruby Walsh celebrates winning this year's Ryanair Chase aboard Vautour
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos Vautour has died in freak accident at Mullins yard
By Tony O'Hehir 4:52PM 6 NOV 2016
THREE-TIME Cheltenham Festival winner Vautour has died after a freak accident at Willie Mullins' yard.
"He broke a foreleg and has had to be put down," his trainer told the Racing Post on Sunday evening. "It's very tough to take for all of us."
Mullins does not know exactly how the injury happened. He explained: "Vautour was out in a paddock with another of our horses, Shaneshill – the two of them go out to the same paddock most days.
"We don't know what exactly happened – it must have been a freak accident – but when one of the girls went out to feed the horses Vautour was found with a broken front leg and our vet had no option but to put him down."
A real superstar
The seven-year-old was the 8-1 second favourite to add the 2017 Timico Gold Cup to his Supreme (2014), JLT (2015) and Ryanair (2016) festival successes.
The five-time Grade 1 winner was victorious on ten of his 16 career starts and finished out of the first two only once, when falling at Aintree in the Grade 1 JLT Melling Chase.
He is a horse who really captured the racing public's heart with his dominant Cheltenham displays and was always spoken of in the most glowing terms by Mullins and his big-race partner Ruby Walsh.
Last season Walsh said: "I love him. He has so much natural ability and is so straightforward. He's a horse we've always thought a hell of a lot of."
Terrible day for Mullins yard
The news came on a terrible day for the Mullins yard as they also lost another star performer in Hennessy Gold Cup second favourite Avant Tout, who had to be put down at Naas after jumping the first and being pulled up in the Grade 3 Brady's Family Ham Supporting Kildare GAA Poplar Square Chase.
Avant Tout jumped the first deliberately and was quickly pulled out of the race on the short run to the second fence, with jockey Paul Townend clearly not happy with his mount.
Avant Tout suffered a deep laceration to his off-fore tendon and racecourse veterinary surgeon Tom Burns confirmed he had to be put down after arriving at the Anglesey Veterinary Clinic on the Curragh.
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