Showjumper Philip Spivey has paid tribute to his talented home-bred gelding Kasparov, who suffered “a massive heart attack” in his stable on Sunday (2 July).
The eight-year-old son of Romanov, who Philip owned with Tracy Forrest, was one of the most exciting young horses in the country.
The “superstar in the making” won his first one-star grand prix in Palaiseau, France, at the beginning of May and had recently stepped up to three-star level, being placed in a rankings class. They had also been making an impact on the county circuit with plenty of good placings.
“He was a bit eccentric, shall we say, in his own way, but when he got to the fence, he did everything perfectly,” Philip told H&H.
“The girls went out to do the night check on the yard and found him in his stable. He’d had a massive heart attack. Apparently it happened instantly, if that’s any consolation, but he’d had no history [of heart problems] so it was just one of those things, unfortunately.”
Kasparov was a full brother to one of Philip’s top horses, the 11-year-old Smirnov, both being out of the Kannan mare Betuna Van Het Lindehof.
Their shared sire was the great stallion Romanov, who Philip rode to victory in the Foxhunter final in 2005 and whom Tracy Forrest also owned, before Billy Twomey took over the reins and then his fellow Irishman Bertram Allen, who competed the chestnut son of Heartbreaker until his retirement this year.
The 2015 winner will not contest the class
The three-time Hickstead Derby winner was officially retired
Horse & Hound looks back through our picture
“Kasparov was just starting to do really well, jumping so consistently at 1.40m level,” said Philip, who also said the gelding’s “star was about to shine”.
“We’re taking a bit of time to regroup right now. After a great start to the season, the train has slightly derailed, but will be full steam ahead soon.”
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.