Monsignor’s fight for his life

Monsignor Dettori

For many horses winning two races at the Cheltenham Festival would be quite enough; few go on to carve out a second career. Monsignor, winner of the Weatherbys Champion bumper in 1999 and the Royal & Sun Alliance Hurdle the following year, is one of the few.

Earlier this month he was back at the centre of events when he carried Frankie Dettori and the Olympic torch at Ascot. He was back at Ascot last Sunday at the family day where he was welcoming racegoers to “Meet the Racehorse.” Monsignor has filled his days since leaving Mark Pitman’s yard as an ambassador for the sport. He is the equine face of the Qipco Champions Series, and also for the HEROS charity (Homing Ex-Racehorses Organisation Scheme).

Now, Monsignor faces a battle for his life, after he was hit by a severe bout of colic on Monday night. This led to a move from his home at the HEROS centre near Wantage to the Valley Equine Hospital in Lambourn. As his condition continued to deteriorate, vets at the hospital carried out an emergency operation in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Now that the immediate recuperation period is over, Grace Muir, chief executive officer for HEROS issued a health bulletin. It shows that even at the age of 18 Monsignor still has the fighting qualities that made him a popular figure on the racecourse. She said, “Monsignor has come through the operation exhibiting the stamina and brave approach that made him such a popular and talented individual on the track. He is now convalescing at the hospital and is comfortable, but far from safe yet and being monitored very closely. It will be some time before he is able to come home.”

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