Thursday 27 October 2016

'I love you Panther' - footballer Michael Owen in gushing tribute after horse dies at the Curragh

The former England striker is a keen horse racing enthusiast

Simon Rice

Published 13/09/2015 | 20:56

Owner Michael Owen with the Tom Dascombe-trained Brown Panther after winning the Artemis Goodwood Cup in 2013
Owner Michael Owen with the Tom Dascombe-trained Brown Panther after winning the Artemis Goodwood Cup in 2013

FORMER England striker and football commentator Michael Owen has said he experienced "the saddest day of my life" on Sunday after his race horse Brown Panther was put down after a race at the Curragh.

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The Tom Dascombe-trained seven-year-old, who was bred and part-owned by Owen, suffered a fatal injury whilst bidding for victory in the Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger.

Sitting second tracking the pace, Brown Panther was suddenly pulled up by jockey Richard Kingscote at around the halfway point, with it later emerging he had suffered a broken hind leg.

Writing on his Twitter page, BT Sport commentator Owen explained why Brown Panther meant so much to him, and how he spent the horse's final moments with him: "It's the saddest day of my life. The toughest, most honest, brilliant horse I will ever set eyes on passed away today doing the thing he loved the most.

"A shattered hind leg that was irreparable according to the first class team at the Curragh ended his life.

"I was with him when he was born, shared an experience for seven years that will never be repeated and gave him his last kiss goodbye.

"What an honour to own and breed him. I love you Panther, life will not be the same without you."

Paul Hensey, general manager at the Curragh, said: "Brown Panther suffered a compound fracture of his hind leg. There were three vets with him within seconds and he was put down as unfortunately he just couldn't be saved."

One of Brown Panther's greatest moments came at Royal Ascot in the 2011 King George V Stakes, a win which left Owen visibly moved.

Successful in the Dubai Gold Cup in March, other career highlights included the Goodwood Cup of 2013 and the Ormonde Stakes at Chester and the Henry II Stakes at Sandown, both of which came last year.

He was also a creditable eighth in last year's Melbourne Cup and ran in America and France.

A son of Shirocco, Brown Panther won 11 of his 28 starts, earning over £1million in win and place prize-money.

Order Of St George crowned a mightily successful weekend for Aidan O'Brien with a runaway victory in the race today.

Independent News Service

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