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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 March, 2005, 09:10 GMT
Gold Cup hope Farmer Jack dies
Richard Johnson guides Farmer Jack to victory
Cheltenham Gold Cup prospect Farmer Jack has died while training on the gallops on Wednesday morning.

The Philip Hobbs-trained nine-year-old was added late to Friday's blue riband event at a cost of 17,500.

Farmer Jack landed the Aon Chase and the Racing Post Chase on his last two starts and was a general 12-1 chance.

"It happened about 0830 - he was having an ordinary canter and just dropped dead," said Hobbs. "It was a pulmonary haemorrhage - to do with his lungs."

Somerset-based Hobbs added: "It's very sad. The horse had been in great form.

"There's no logic to it. It's very rare when a horse is healthy and right in itself."

Farmer Jack's death follows Tuesday's withdrawal of Kingscliff and Rule Supreme, while three-time champion Best Mate scratched last week.

Hobbs, who won the Champion Hurdle with Rooster Booster in 2003, trains Gold Medallist, the favourite for Wednesday's opening race, the Royal & SunAlliance Novices' Hurdle.



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