|Martin and Joanna Cleland report that their remarkable horse Sir James has sadly passed away after a short illness.
The tough and durable grey gelding left an indelible mark on all those who knew him. Competing for over six years, this aggressive athlete registered 18 victories and another 25 placings including many in black type events. The highlights of his career were victories in the Challenge Stakes at Ellerslie, successive Carters Miles at Avondale (the second carrying 61 kgs) and placings in the Avondale Cup (Group 1) and the Foxbridge Plate (twice).
Sir James was a horse with plenty of character who always demonstrated a strong personality, and these attributes clearly contributed to his success on the track. Most of his wins were scored with his ears back, nose outstretched and determination etched on his face. Martin Cleland recalls that Sir James’ mood was often dictated by his success or otherwise on the track. “If he’d had a soft race he would kick in the truck all the way home, which was his way of venting his frustration. The best way to remember him was simply as a fierce competitor who always gave his all.”
Whilst saddened at the departure of their oldest equine friend, Martin and Joanna look forward to unearthing a galloper of similar potential from their Cambridge base which is appropriately named after this wonderful horse.