Willoughby Court has been put down after surgery to try and clear up an infection in the sesamoid bone.
The Ben Pauling-trained horse enjoyed a successful career, which saw him win two Grade 2 races and one Grade 1 race, and was due to run at Newbury back in November but had to be withdrawn due to injury.
Unfortunately, it was an injury which the eight-year-old was unable to recover from, despite treatment at Bourton Vale Equine Clinic. Pauling confirmed the news today with a statement to the Racing Post.
“Unfortunately, the infection in the bone had flared up again and despite the best efforts of the fantastic team at Bourton Vale Equine Clinic, sadly we had no alternative but to put him down,” Pauling said.
“Willoughby was a huge character around the yard. His brilliance was that he was that bit different and that bit sharper than any other horse I have ever trained. He was a fabulous jumper who very quickly became an incredibly tough competitor, which was proven in many of his races, none more so than when he won the Neptune at Cheltenham.”
Following his success, Pauling added how he would be fondly-remembered within their stable, with the highlight of his career coming in the victory at Cheltenham in 2017.
Pauling Added: “Being our first festival winner will mean he’ll always be very fondly remembered. Frustratingly, he never actually had many races and we all felt that there was a huge amount of improvement to come.”