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Le Moss dies at 25; Dual Ascot Gold Cup winner will be best remembered for battles with Ardross.

LE MOSS, winner of the Ascot Gold Cup in 1979 and 1980 and the only horse ever to win the stayers' triple crown twice, has been put down at the age of 25, writes David Lawrence.

The chestnut son of Le Levanstell, who was owned in his racing days by Carlo D'Alessio and trained by Henry Cecil, became a leading light of the last golden age of stayers in Europe.

He was a full-brother to Levmoss, winner of the Ascot Gold Cup and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in 1969, and gained a career total of 11 victories.

Timeform, in Racehorses of 1980, described the horse as "a phenomenon" and went on to say that

"if there is such a thing as a top-class racehorse that stays for ever, then Le Moss is probably the closest to him we have encountered since the mid-1940s".

The book, printed after the then five-year-old had retired to stud, added: "In terms of racing merit, we rate Le Moss higher than his famous brother [135 to 133].

"He is a lengthy, attractive horse and, although he was not a free mover in his slower paces, he was a powerful, relentless galloper."

He was second to Julio Mariner in the St Leger in 1978 but blossomed in the next two years, landing the stayers' triple crown twice.

In 1980 he had titanic battles with Ardross and beat his gallant rival narrowly each time-by three-

quarters of a length in the Ascot Gold Cup, and by a neck when conceding weight to him in both the Goodwood Cup and the Doncaster Cup. He led for nearly every step of the combined seven miles-plus of the three races.

At the time Ardross was trained by Kevin Prendergast in Ireland, but he was trained by Cecil to win the next two Gold Cups and come

second in the Arc.

In his greatest victories Le Moss was ridden by Joe Mercer. The former champion jockey said yesterday: "Le Moss was difficult to train and would never go on the gallops unless he felt like it. But he always woke up once we got him to a racecourse.

"He was as tough as old boots and tremendously difficult to pass. So my orders were invariably to lead from the start and just keep punching all the way to the line.

"That was the way I rode him in those great Cup races in 1980 and I shall always remember the old

rascal with great affection. He was an outstanding stayer."

Once retired, Le Moss took up stallion duties and sired such useful jumpers as Scotton Banks and Raymylette.

He had most recently been standing at Waterhouse Farm, near Minehead in Somerset, but was put down on Thursday.

Sally Hawkes, the stud's joint-owner said: "It was purely due to old age. He's buried here on the farm and went with great dignity."
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Lawrence, David
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Aug 19, 2000
Words:481
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