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Derby hero Chaparral put down

High Chaparral, winner of the 2002 Derby, has been put down at Fethard Equine Hospital at the age of 15.

Trained by Aidan O'Brien, the son of Sadler's Wells was ridden to glory at Epsom by Johnny Murtagh as he proved two lengths too strong for 9-4 favourite and stablemate Hawk Wing.

A tweet from Coolmore read: "High Chaparral has been euthanised at Fethard Equine Hospital during exploratory colic surgery due to a perforated intestine."

Mick Kinane elected to partner Hawk Wing at Epsom but was back on board for the Irish Derby at the Curragh, where High Chaparral was an easy winner from Sholokhov, leading home a 1-2-3 for Ballydoyle.

He did not run again until the Arc at Longchamp, in which he was third to Marienbard, and enjoyed further glory when travelling to Arlington Park in Chicago to land the Breeders' Cup Turf.

O'Brien's star returned as a four-year-old, beating Falbrav in the Irish Champion Stakes, again finishing third in Arc, this time to Dalakhani, and then dead-heating with Johar in a pulsating Breeders' Cup Turf.

In total he won 10 of 13 career starts, earning almost £3.5million in win and place prize money.

Kinane described High Chaparral as an "exceptionally good racehorse".

He said: "It's sad news. He was a very tough, genuine horse and very talented.

"He won two Breeders' Cups, the English and Irish Derby. He was an exceptionally good racehorse. He's up there as one of the very good horses."

Murtagh tweeted: "Just heard the sad news about High Chaparral. Brilliant Derby winner, gave me a wonderful day. RIP."

As a sire High Chaparral produced the top-class So You Think and Toronado, as well as money-spinning southern hemisphere runners It's A Dundeel, Shoot Out and Descarado.

Other stars of his stud career included Wigmore Hall, Redwood, Western Hymn and High Jinx.

His name is set to live on at the highest level next season through Dermot Weld's talented Free Eagle.

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