Leading event sire Jumbo has been put down at the age of 31. The extraordinarily successful stallion was graded Elite with Sport Horse Breeding (GB) and had competed up to advanced level eventing, before becoming one of Britain’s top sires.
By the renowned registered Irish Draught sire Skippy out of the showjumper Betty, who was by the thoroughbred Seven Bells, Jumbo was bred in Worcestershire by Irish Draught stalwart, the late Archie Smith-Maxwell. His owner Carolyn Bates of Grafham Stud bought him as a six-month-old weanling from Malvern sales.
He competed in eventing with Andrew Nicholson (pictured above) and as a seven-year-old won the young horse trophy at Le Lions D’Angers. The following year the pair completed Boekelo CCI3* in 15th place. Jumbo went on to compete in showjumping with William Funnell and in affiliated dressage with Lizzie Murray — in 1997 the pair won the combined training championship at Blenheim – before retiring to concentrate on stud duties.
He has since sired many leading event horses including four-star winners and record breakers Headley Britannia (Lucinda Fredericks) — the only mare to win Badminton, Burghley and Kentucky — and Avebury (pictured below), winner of Burghley a record three times with Andrew Nicholson.
The success of his offspring means that Jumbo is the leading ‘all time sire’ with British Eventing (BE) as well as the BE leading ‘all time sire’ of competition mares. During his life he sired 45 advanced horses and currently has around 50 offspring affiliated with BE. These include Avebury, Allercombe Ellie (winner of the CCI3* at Tattersalls with Izzy Taylor last year, pictured below right) and Mr Chunky, a member of last year’s British Nations Cup team with Lucy Wiegersma.
Jumbo is also the top British-bred stallion in the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horse eventing sire rankings in sixth place. He has nine graded sons standing in the UK including Philanderer II, bred and owned by Carolyn, who is currently competing with Tim Cheffiings.
“Jumbo has been such a huge part of my life,” said Carolyn, who said a sad final farewell to him last month. “While I knew he was a cracking foal when I bought him, never did I ever imagine the enormous influence he would have on eventing. I have been privileged to own such a horse, stallion and gentleman — he was always the proudest but kindest of stallions.”