Oliver Townend has lost one of his top rides, Ashdale Cruise Master, who has been put down due to neurological problems.

After falling at Badminton earlier this year, Henry and Edna Harding’s 12-year-old gelding had had time off to be treated for “various issues”, but he returned to the circuit for Oasby(2) on 15 October, where Oliver ran him in the open intermediate section.

Oliver told H&H: “I wanted to give him a quiet run before the end of the season, to see whether the treatment he had been receiving had helped him.

“But he seemed to lose his co-ordination half way around the cross-country, so I quickly pulled him up,” he added.

Tests at the nearby Oakham Veterinary Centre revealed that Ashdale Cruise Master had “a number of internal problems that unfortunately couldn’t be treated”.

The talented grey, by Cruising, was produced to four-star level by Emily Gilruth before Oliver took over the ride in 2010.

“Splash” was a prolific winner at CIC*** level, clocking up victories at Tattersalls, Belton and Burnham Market, but he could never quite replicate this form at four-star level and despite a fifth place at Luhmuhlen CCI**** last year, fell across country at both Kentucky in 2010 and Badminton.

“He was a fantastic horse and I’m incredibly sad to lose him,” said Oliver. “But unfortunately his problems were only ever going to get worse, so we were left with no option but to have him put down.”