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Charter Party put down at age of 22; Nicholson pays tribute to `very talented and brave' Gold Cup winner.

Charter Party, the injury-prone chaser who won the 1988 Cheltenham Gold Cup and finished third behind Desert Orchid in the race the following year, has been put down at the age of 22 after becoming troubled by arthritis.

The David Nicholson-trained gelding, who beat Cavvies Clown by six lengths under Richard Dunwoody in 1988, spent his retirement at the home of part-owner Jenny Mould at Guiting Power in Gloucestershire, where he has been buried.

Charter Party's racing career had been hindered by intermittent lameness, and after his Gold Cup victory he was found to be suffering from navicular disease.

Nicholson said yesterday: "I consider winning a Gold Cup with Charter Party was my best training performance. He was a very talented and very brave horse, but also a very unsound one. Unfortunately he didn't get the recognition he deserved."

Before he won the Gold Cup, he had been lame following his success in the Gainsborough Chase at Sandown in February.

"Charter Party tended to be a bit clumsy at times-he had fallen with Peter Scudamore at the last flight at Newcastle when clear in the final of the Haig Whisky Novices' Series," Nicholson recalled.

Purchased by Nicholson for 8,000gns as a four-year-old, the Document gelding was one of the first two horses owned by Jenny and Raymond Mould, who later introduced friends Colin and Claire Smith to the sport by selling them a half-share.

From then on, both families were to build up a considerable team of jumpers.

The Smiths, who last week moved from Gloucestershire to the Channel Islands, own the lavish Jackdaws Castle Stables in the Cotswolds where Richard Phillips now trains.

Although Charter Party's career was littered with falls, he won his share of races too.

His success in the 1986 Ritz Club National Hunt Chase was part of a memorable day for Nicholson, who a few hours earlier had broken his 17-year wait for a success at the Festival when Solar Cloud took the Triumph Hurdle.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 11, 2000
Words:331
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