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Never So Bold dies, aged 20; Top European sprinter of 1985 suffers heart attack.

NEVER SO BOLD, the European champion sprinter of 1985, has died from a heart attack at Wood Farm Stud in Shropshire. He was 20.

Trained by Robert Armstrong, Never So Bold raced in the colours of Edward Kessly and was a late-maturing colt. He showed high-class form at four, when he won three Pattern races, notably the Prix Maurice de Gheest and Diadem Stakes. But he excelled at five, when he became one of just five horses to land the treble of the King's Stand Stakes, July Cup and York Sprint Championship (Nunthorpe) despite suffering from temporary lameness after most of his races. He failed in the 1985 Breeders' Cup Sprint, but that did not detract from his dominance of the sprint division.

Armstrong paid tribute to Never So Bold yesterday, saying: "He was a very, very good horse and so brave with it. He was lovely to handle and improved the older he got. We won't forget him.

"The Breeders' Cup was obviously a big disappointment, but the July Cup, in which he was ridden by Lester Piggott, was by far his best performance - I've always felt that. Lester paid him a big compliment after that race. Never So Bold was always Steve Cauthen's ride, but after the July Cup, Lester asked to stay on him and told me the horse would never get beat."

After three years as a stallion at Brook Stud near Newmarket, he was the subject of an offer from Japan. However, Cheveley Park Stud stepped in to secure a majority shareholding in the son of Bold Lad, and he stood at David and Patricia Thompson's Newmarket base until 1993. He was then moved to Britton House Stud in Somerset as part of Cheveley Park's policy of making stallions available in other parts of Britain.

In 1995, he went to Wood Farm Stud, where he was under the care of Bill and Di Bromley until his heart attack on Tuesday morning.

Compared to the heights Never So Bold reached on the track, his career at stud was slightly disappointing. He sired lots of winners, most of them sprinters, but only a few were high class. Among the best were 1990 Diomed Stakes winner Eton Lad; Character, who took the Grade 2 Cinema Handicap in 1991; 1996 Duke of York Stakes hero Venture Capitalist; and 1998 Ayr Gold Cup winner Always Alight.

He has developed into a decent broodmare sire, with his daughters producing 1996 Gimcrack Stakes winner Abou Zouz; Easycall, who won three Pattern races at two, also in 1996; Nadwah, winner of the 1997 Queen Mary Stakes; and 1998 Prestige Stakes winner Circle Of Gold.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Goff, Tom
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Feb 10, 2000
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