Many Clouds (Source: Horse & Hound)
12 months ago today, racing lost a real life equine superstar, Many Clouds. The 2015 Grand National victor and 2014 Hennessy Gold Cup Champion, lost his life in a brave battle up the Cheltenham hill against the mighty Thistlecrack, who was had previously been imperious until that fateful day. Jubilation soon turned to grief when Many Clouds collapsed after winning the race by a head and sadly died of a suspected heart attack. His final bow was taken in arguably the best performance of his illustrious career. His trainer, Oliver Sherwood, praised him as “the horse of a lifetime” and he said that, “he died doing what he loved- jumping and racing.” And indeed he was correct. Many Clouds had the attributes of a true old-fashioned chaser. He never wanted to be passed and on that day, Thistlecrack stood no chance when he stuck his head down and fought.
On tragic days like these, even the most passionate of racing fans can question why they bother, but this week we remembered why we love this sport so dearly. He may have lost his life but people from all over the UK and Ireland came together online to commemorate the wonderful life of Many Clouds, using the hashtag #ManyCloudsWeek. Most people expressed their love and admiration for a horse that never stopped giving, others tweeted photographs of Many Clouds with fond memories attached to them and some even wrote poems like Catriona Smith (@Caitrinarose on twitter). Catriona’s final lines of the poem read:
“And now as he sleeps, we remember his name
How his story began, and the Hero he became.”
Plenty have said it, but Many Clouds really was a very special horse. He had such character and was loved by everyone. He was the center of the public eye and he was truly adored by every one of Oliver Sherwood’s team.
Today there was an area behind the rails by the winning post at Cheltenham where people came to lay flowers for ‘The People’s Horse’. In my eyes, this really symbolizes the love that we all share for one outstanding racehorse. Many Clouds truly was magnificent.
‘Gone but never forgotten. Always our Hero.’
April 21st 2007 – January 28th 2017
Many Clouds and Trevor Hemmings (Source: The RadioTimes)