10/09/2013 9:23AM

Helissio, Arc winner and sire, dies at age 20

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Helissio, European Horse of the Year and winner of the 1996 Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, died Oct. 8 of a suspected heart attack, Racing Post reports. He was 20 years old.

The son of Fairy King last stood at Scarvagh House Stud in Northern Ireland. Last week, the farm lost another stallion, Exit to Nowhere.

Helissio raced for two seasons, racking up eight wins in 13 starts for earnings of $2,008,467. He raced primarily in his native France for owner Enrique Sarasola and trainer Ellie Lellouche, winning five Group 1 races and a pair in Group 2 competition, highlighted by the Arc, in which he triumphed by five lengths. That campaign earned him the Cartier Award as European Horse of the Year in 1996.

The horse also took sojourns to England and Japan, finishing in the money in Group 1 races in both countries.

Helissio was retired to stud after his 4-year-old season, and stood at farms around the world, including Widden Stud in Australia and Shadai Farm in Japan, as well as several farms in Ireland.

He has sired 13 crops of racing age, and his top runners are led by Australian champion Helenus, Japanese Group 2 winner Pop Rock, runner-up in the 2006 Melbourne Cup, and Japanese Group 3 winner Health Wall.