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Clifton Lush, New Zealand rider Jock Paget’s selected Rio Olympic horse and consistent three- and four-star contender, has been put down after a field accident.

Jock announced the news this morning (31 March) on his Facebook page.

“It is absolutely devastating that we say goodbye to Clifton Lush, he was flying around his paddock as he sometimes likes to do and suffered an injury that he won’t recover from to have a comfortable enough retirement,” he said.

“This is obviously a major blow to anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him. He was such a legend and he was living proof that with enough heart you can do anything. I had the pleasure of working with Lush for six years and I am hugely grateful for everything he taught me and how he gave everything and then some when I needed him to, he made the biggest of tracks feel like nothing but he would never give anything away in the warm-up.”

Jock described the 18-year-old gelding as “a true warrior” who loved his job.

“Huge condolences to his owners Lucy and Shaun Allison and Frances Stead and Russel Hall,” he added. “He was retired last year with the greatest intentions and it’s a crying shame that this little legend won’t get the retirement he deserves.

“He is being cremated and the ashes will be spread in Lucy and Shaun’s orchard.”

Clifton Lush

Picture by Christian Schwetz: www.schwetz.uk

Clifton Lush’s most notable results included sixth place at Badminton last year, third at Badminton in 2015, fifth place at Burghley in 2012 and 2011 and victory in the CIC3* at Bramham in 2011 and the British Open at Gatcombe in 2013.

He was produced to four-star level by fellow New Zealander Joe Meyer before Jock took over the ride in 2011.

The New Zealand-bred chestnut, who broke his withers in eight places as an eight-year-old, was also selected to compete at the Rio Olympics but had to be withdrawn after the first trot-up. This was due to a stable accident at the event where he cut his cheek and had to be operated on, resulting in 100 stitches.

Joint owner Sophie Allison, who was looking after Clifton Lush in his retirement at her home in Hampshire, said: “Absolutely gutted to say that yesterday we had to put Clifton Lush to sleep. He had a severe injury from galloping around the field. He was a real legend.”

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