Connaught, the horse with whom Australian-turned-American eventer Phillip Dutton finished in the top seven at Kentucky CCI4* four years running – including winning the event in 2008 — has been put to sleep aged 21.

The bay Irish Sport Horse gelding, who was produced in Ireland by Carol Gee and Paul Donovan, contested the 2006 World Equestrian Games and notched up plenty of other placings at three- and four-star level during his career.

In 2007, as a 14-year-old, Phillip and the horse’s owner, the late Bruce Duchossois, received an offer to buy him — which the pair accepted after much discussion.

But the gelding failed a vetting on his x-rays.

The following year he won Kentucky and then went on to compete at the Beijing Olympics.

Connaught bowed out from international competition with a seventh place in Kentucky in 2009 and spent much of his retirement at Bruce’s South Carolina stables.

A statement on Phillip’s Facebook page, read: “It’s with great sadness that we’ve learned Connaught [Simon] was laid to rest this morning due to complications from old age…

“[He] did so much for me. He had an incredible record at Kentucky, never having a rail down there. We take comfort in knowing that Bruce [who died from cancer in July] and Simon are together again now. Thank you, Simon, for all the memories.”