RACING fans paid tribute to ‘absolute legend’ Cue Card, after the popular horse died of a heart attack.
The nine-time Grade 1 winner passed away aged 16 – just a few days before he was due to be paraded in front of racegoers at Kempton Park.
Cue Card died at the age of 16 on Friday morning
He won 16 races, including the 2015 King George at Kempton
He had been enjoying his retirement at Venn Farm Stables, where he was trained throughout his career by Colin Tizzard.
Colin handed his licence down to his son, Joe, at the start of this season and Cue Card had spent the last four years being spoilt rotten by Joe’s wife Rachel.
He burst onto the scene with a shock 40-1 win in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival and went on to enjoy an iconic career over jumps.
He won an epic King George VI Chase at Kempton back in 2015, while he also won three Betfair Chases and a Ryanair Chase, with career earnings of nearly £1.5 million.
A heartbroken Joe Tizzard said: “He’s been an absolute star for our family.
“As a racehorse he was unbelievable. He certainly put our names on the map, he was huge for us.
“He had such longevity, he just kept coming back year after year. He’s a once in a lifetime horse.
“He sadly had a heart attack this morning while being ridden out. His work rider Hammer Singh rode him virtually every day for the last few years of his training career.
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“He’ll be sadly missed, he became my wife’s pet and he was happy with where he was and he didn’t suffer.”
Racing fans were left absolutely gutted by the news and paid tribute to the horse on social media.
One said: “I’m so sorry to hear this. He was an absolute legend and was one of my favourite ever horses.”
Another posted: “His King George was a moment I will never forget. Amazing memories and an amazing horse. RIP.”
While another added: “My all time favourite, the best of the best. I am so sorry for #teamtizz he was nothing short of spectacular.”
Cue Card had been due to form part of a parade of previous Kempton champions on Boxing Day, as he has done at several racecourses around the country since his retirement in 2018.