It was a simple message on social media posted by Anthony Cummings, son of legendary horse trainer Bart Cummings, that alerted Australia to the death of Melbourne Cup winning horse, Saintly.
“Saintly, the horse from heaven, has gone home. He gave us so much,” Cummings wrote.
The champion racehorse, who won both the Melbourne Cup and the WS Cox Plate in 1996, has died aged 24.
He was ridden by jockey Darren Beadman and at the time of his victory was only the fourth horse in history to have won both the Melbourne Cup and the Cox Plate in the same year. He joined the likes of Phar Lap (1930), Nightmarch (1929) and Rising Fast (1954).
Despite being regarded as one of the greats of racing, his career was cut short shortly after his Melbourne Cup win due to injury.
Beadman rode the horse to all of his Group One race victories — the Melbourne Cup, the Cox Plate, the Australian Cup and his final race in 1997, the CF Orr Stakes, highlighting the special relationship the horse and jockey had.
“A horse like Saintly will forever live on in racing folklore, partly because he was associated with Bart [Cummings],” Beadman said in a recent interview, before the horse died.
Bart Cummings bred, owned and trained Saintly, and ultimately made the decision to retire the gelding.