Tributes as former Doncaster St Leger winner Bollin Eric dies at 21

Tributes have been paid following the death of thoroughbred racehorse Bollin Eric, the winner of the 2002 St Leger at Doncaster.

Monday, 20th January 2020, 10:51 am
Updated Monday, 20th January 2020, 12:07 pm

The last northern-trained winner of the world's oldest classic horse race has died at stud in Dorset at the age of 21.

Trained by Tim Easterby to win four of his 18 starts for owner-breeders Sir Neil and Lady Westbrook, Bollin Eric's finest hour was his defeat of Highest and Bandari at Doncaster in 2002, ridden to victory by Kevin Darley.

The horse died on Saturday and Mr Easterby told the Racing Post: "It's a sad loss.

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Kevin Darley wins the 2002 St Leger on Bollin Eric.
Kevin Darley wins the 2002 St Leger on Bollin Eric.

“We had some wonderful days with Bollin Eric and his win in the St Leger was the climax of the racing careers of his owners Sir Neil and Lady Westbrook who sadly died soon afterwards.

"I know he had a great home down in Dorset where they thought the world of him and he had a very good life by all accounts."

He added: "Bollin Eric was Yorkshire-born and bred and he was the last winner of the St Leger to be trained in the north. After he retired from racing and went to stud often we used him and had a few winners by him."

Leger winning jockey Mr Darley recalled: “It was a great day and it's sad to hear he's passed away as that was one of the highlights of my career.

"You don't get many northern Classic winners and we got a tremendous reception as I remember."

The former champion jockey added: "Tim Easterby called the Westbrooks 'real people' as I recall and it was great to win a Classic for them."

All the Westbrooks’ horses carried the "Bollin" prefix taken from the River Bollin near their home in Cheshire.

During his racing career, he only finished outside the top four in one race,

He was retired to stud in 2004.

The St Leger, open to three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies, is run at Doncaster over a distance of 1 mile, 6 furlongs and 115 yards and takes place every September.

Established in 1776, the St Leger is the oldest of Britain's five Classic horse races.