Moorcroft Boy the equine ambassador of The Racehorse Sanctuary in West Sussex, has died aged 28.

The 16.2hh chestnut gelding, by Roselier and out of Well Mannered, was put to sleep yesterday (Wednesday 20 March) due to colic.

“Mr M” was a successful racehorse — winning nine point-to-points and five under Rules — before retiring in 1996.

Trained by David Nicholson, the horse was famous for coming third under Adrian Maguire in the 1994 Grand National. Moorcroft Boy was leading the field coming over the last but broke a blood vessel, slowing him down in the run in. The race was won by Miinnehoma ridden by Richard Dunwoody.

Later that year he ran in the Becher Chase at Aintree and suffered his only fall in a race — breaking three vertebrae in his neck. He was operated on at Liverpool University and made a full recovery, going on to win the biggest race of his career — the 1996 Scottish Grand National at Ayr by 11 lengths. He was retired immediately afterwards.

His owner Ken Manley gifted Moorcroft Boy to Graham Oldfield and Sue Collins where he then became the figurehead for The Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre. He also became the face of The Racehorse Sanctuary and Re-Homing Centre, which was also set up by Graham and Sue.

In retirement he was hacked out and schooled in dressage up to elementary level as well as parading at racecourses.

“This wonderful horse will be sadly missed by all who were lucky enough to come into contact with him but his legacy lives on,” said Graham.

For more information visit: www.racehorsesanctuary.org