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[an error occurred while processing this directive] Tuesday, 30 October, 2001, 14:50 GMT
Top racehorse sire dies
Peintre Celebre wins the 1997 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
Peintre Celebre after his awesome 1997 Arc victory
Nureyev, one of the most influential sires of racehorses in America and Europe, has died.

The horse who sired such recent stars as Peintre Celebre, Miesque and Spinning World, died on Monday at the Walmac International Stud near Lexington, Kentucky.

It followed complications from a tumour in the hoof of his right fore-leg.

The foot problem that plagued the 24-year-old stallion had started in mid-August and resulted in a surgical procedure to remove a cancerous tumour.

He just laid down and died in his stall
Walmac stud owner John T.L. Jones

Further surgery followed a month later on the same condition.

Walmac's owner John T.L. Jones Jr told the Thoroughbred Times that the son of Northern Dancer, was "a pretty darn important horse."

"It was cancer in his foot," he added. "We tried to take it out a month ago and it just didn't work."

Bred at the Hancock family's Claiborne Farm, Nureyev was acquired at the 1978 Keeneland Sales for Stavros Niarchos by the BBA at a cost of 1.3m that made him the second highest-priced yearling ever at the time.

He raced only three times, winning twice in France before having his final start in the English 2000 Guineas.

Ridden at Newmarket by Philippe Paquet, he finished first in the Classic but was disqualified and placed last for causing interference, the race being awarded to Known Fact.

Breeding success

Made favourite for the Epsom Derby, he then contracted a serious virus and retired from racing, was sent to Walmac for the 1982 breeding season.

He went on to prove a remarkable success story.

At stud, Nureyev's progeny included superstars such as Peintre Celebre, Sonic Lady, Zilzal, Theatrical, Reams Of Verse, Soviet Star, Stravinsky, Fasliyev, Polar Falcon and Wolfhound.

Peintre Celebre, himself now a successful sire, was a brilliant winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe for Nureyev when he slammed Pilsudski by five lengths in 1997

It was the 100th pattern-race success for Nureyev's progeny in Europe.

Miesque took the English and French 1000 Guineas in 1987 along with the Breeders' Cup Mile.

She followed up that American success the following year.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained Stonemason, the winner of the Group Three Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown on Monday, was Nureyev's most recent pattern-race winner.

Nureyev had covered 39 mares this year before his death.

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