02/23/2011 3:02PM

Old Vic, won French and Irish Derbies, dead at 25


Old Vic, winner of the French and Irish Derbies in 1989 when ridden by Steve Cauthen, was euthanized at Sunnyhill Stud in County Kildare, Ireland, on Monday after suffering a bout of colic at the age of 25.

Trained in England by Henry Cecil for Sheikh Mohammed, Old Vic won his maiden race in his second start at Haydock by six lengths. At 3 he won his first five starts, all of them with Cauthen aboard. A 10-length Newbury allowance score going 1 3/8 miles was followed by wins in the 1 1/4-mile Sandown Classic Trial (four lengths), the 1 1/2-mile Chester Vase (2 1/2 lengths), the French Derby (seven lengths), and the Irish Derby (four lengths). As a result of his 3-year-old exploits, Old Vic was named co-highweight on the International Classification at 134 with Zilzal.

“He was a top-class horse and an out-and-out stayer,” Cauthen said, “but he had a turn of foot at 1 1/2 miles. In the French Derby he quickened away through the stretch after leading most of the way. He just blew them away that day.”

“After winning the Chester Vase, we had to choice between the English Derby and the French. He was such a strong galloper we thought that Chantilly would suit him better than Epsom. Then he won the Irish Derby despite having a boil on his back.” Indeed, Cecil said that the boil was an abscess twice the size of a golf ball and that it was smack in the middle of the saddle area.

Old Vic ultimately developed into a top jumps sire. Among his offspring were two Grand National Steeplechase winners in Comply of Die (2008) and Don’t Push It (2010) and Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Kicking King (2005).