Wayward Lad, a jumping icon of the 1980s, has died at the age of 28 in Pennsylvania, America.

Successful in three King George VI Chases and twice placed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Wayward Lad won 28 races on 16 different racecourses.

He spent his racing life under the care of the famous Dickinson family. First, he was trained by Tony, then by son Michael and finally by Tony’s widow Monica.

Wayward Lad was one of the most thrilling chasers to watch, taking his fences at full throttle and invariably with faultless precision. He flew his jumps, often gaining many lengths over some of the best horses in a golden era of steeplechasing.

The first of his three King George’s came in 1982, although perhaps one of his most memorable performances was in finishing second to that magnificent mare Dawn Run in the 1986 Gold Cup. Wayward Lad led over the final fence only to be denied in the dying strides.

Monica Dickinson, who used to ride out Wayward Lad, says: “He was a wonderful horse to have in the yard and left us all with some very happy memories. He was a super mover, who never had a problem with his legs; a lovely horse to ride.”

He spent the early part of his retirement with Michael Dickinson at Fair Hill in Maryland, where he was hunted. He was turned out for the last eight years, but when the local hunt went by recently he still wanted to join in.