Cannon Fodder (right) was a popular mare who gave her all
PICTURE: Gettu Images
By Jon Lees 8:25PM 25 JUN 2016
CANNON FODDER, the diminutive hurdler whose determination to give her all whatever the standard of race made her a cult favourite, has died of colic.
The Sheena West-trained mare, who was nine, was having a break after a season in which she had run a career best in finishing third behind Cheltenham Festival winner Vroum Vroum Mag and Jennies Jewel, who won at Royal Ascot, in a Grade 2 hurdle at Ascot.
She had won in excess of £63,000 from three wins, 11 seconds and five thirds from 34 starts, more than half at Plumpton and Fontwell, having cost just £1,000 when bought by Len Brakes, one of ten owners who made up The Cheapskates.
Brakes said on Saturday: “Cannon Fodder had been out in the field for about six weeks having a summer holiday. She was coming back into training next week and Sheena had a race mapped out for her at Plumpton in September.
“She was a stone’s throw away from the stables and Sheena would look at her every morning. There was never a problem – we’d never had a vet’s bill – but yesterday morning we found her lain down in the middle of the field. She’d had colic apparently.”
Cannon Fodder recorded her biggest win in a mares’ handicap hurdle at Kempton over Christmas and followed up with her third at Ascot at odds of 40-1.
Brakes added: “She’d taken us to places we’d never have gone. We’re just working-class blokes who enjoy our racing and managed to get lucky with her. We’ve been to Ascot, Kempton, Doncaster and been treated like royalty.
“She cost £1,000 and had won £63,000. She was 15 hands and not half an inch over. When I got her nobody wanted her. She was even looked at as a polo pony and they said she was too small.
“She tried and tried and tried. Even on the gallops she had to be in front walking back to the stables.”
He added: “They were wonderful times, you can’t buy them. It was a sad day for all of us. I don’t think we’ll have that journey again.”