Updated on 09/16/2011 7:43AM

Katko, top French jumper, dead


Katko, one of the greatest jumpers in the history of French racing, and probably the most popular, died Thursday morning in Chantilly at the age of 19.

A gelded son of Carmarthen trained by Bernard Secly for the Comte de Montesson, Katko won France's championship chase race, the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris at Auteuil Racecourse, three times in succession, from 1988 through 1990, each time braving 23 fences over a distance of 3 5/8 miles.

In a seven-year career that began in 1986, Katko won 20 races over hurdles and steeplechase fences. When he retired in 1992 his lifetime earnings of $1,283,314 were a world record for jumpers that held until his countrymate Al Capone II surpassed it in 1998.