By AAP Racing/Warwick Barr 8:30AM 16 DEC 2016
SAINTLY, the Bart Cummings-trained champion who won the 1996 Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup, has died at the age of 24.
Darren Beadman, who rode Saintly to both of those big-race victories, told Sky Sports Radio: “He was a great horse to me. He was a great horse to Australian racing. He was a champion.
“He loved racing. He was a very kind horse in his make-up. He was a dream to ride.
“Bart had a soft spot for him because he bred him and raced the dad.”
The ‘horse from heaven’
Cummings’ son Anthony announced Saintly’s death on Friday via Twitter.
“Saintly, the horse from heaven, has gone home. He gave us so much,” Cummings said.
Bart Cummings bred Saintly, who was by Sky Chase out of All Grace, and raced him with his good friend Dato Tan Chin Nam.
Saintly was known as the “Horse from Heaven” because of his name and his jockey, the devout Beadman.
He was also the horse who helped Cummings pay his way out of a crippling financial situation prompted by the collapse of the Cups King Syndicate.
After the Melbourne Cup, Saintly went to Japan for a tilt at their Cup but became critically ill with travel sickness and missed the race.
He was back to full health the following February to win the CF Orr Stakes which would turn out to be his last race.
He suffered a tendon injury and after spending time at Living Legends in Melbourne he spent the rest of his retirement at Cummings’ Princes Farm on Sydney’s outskirts, a property the late trainer described appropriately as “horse heaven”.