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Nick Skelton’s famous show jumping partner Apollo has died at the age of 31.

Skelton rated the big bay gelding among his five best ever rides.

“He was one of the greats,” said Skelton. “He could do anything, speeds, grands prix, Derbys, puissance — it was a pleasure to ride him.”

Apollo’s successes were legion, but Skelton sets aside the Calgary Speed Derby as the highlight.

“He was very brave and so fast —he won by an amazing 5sec,” he said.

Apollo’s many other major triumphs included individual bronze at the World Championships in Aachen in 1986, individual European bronze at St Gallen in 1987, numerous Nations Cup team wins and an appearance at the Seoul Olympics. He also had two Hickstead Derby and two Aachen grand prix victories.

Apollo lived out his days with Nick’s father, David, and his wife, Janette, with whom he enjoyed many days’ hunting.

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