The current national prix st georges champion Tantoni Sir Soccrates has been removed from his rider Alice Oppenheimer’s yard.

Alice, a grand prix rider, was visiting India with The Brooke ambassador Charlotte Dujardin on a week-long equine charity trip. When she returned on Saturday (31 October), “Soccs” was no longer there.

“We don’t know what’s going on,” Alice told H&H. “When I got back, he’d gone.

“I knew his owner Georgie [Pole-Carew] was ill, so we had told them that we would understand if they needed to sell him, and would help them do that.

I don’t even know where he is, and I’m so gutted not to have been able to say goodbye. That’s the thing that really hurts.

“I’ll really miss him; I had an incredible bond with that horse,” she added.

The eight-year-old’s owners, Georgina and Peregrine Pole-Carew, said the timing was “an unfortunate coincidence” with “no malice” and added that they had believed that Alice was already back from India when the horse was collected from the Oppenheimers’ Hampshire yard.

“Georgina has been very unwell this year and that’s been our major concern,” Peregrine told H&H.

“We’ve been debating whether we’d continue with Soccs with the Oppenheimers. We saw out the season and Alice and her mother Sarah have done bloody well, for which we’re really grateful.”

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The horse has returned to his owners’ Dorset base.

“Alice has done a good job over the three years she’s had him, but the relationship has come to an end. It’s been a stressful time with Georgie’s illness, and we’ve had to prioritise,” he added.

Alice and the talented Oldenburg gelding — a former licensed stallion — have enjoyed extensive wins at small tour this year, including four plus-70% wins from four starts at Vidauban CDI in March.

However, Alice is not bereft of horse-power as she still has the grand prix competitors Headmore Delegate and Headmore Boadicia, as well as the up-and-coming Headmore Wrubinstar, Headmore Wimoweh and Headmore Dirubinio.