Saintly has died aged 24 at Princes Farm on the banks of the Nepean River in NSW.
The Bart Cummings-trained champion won the 1996 Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup in a vintage generation of stars. “He was a great horse to me and to Australian racing,” jockey Darren Beadman said. “He was a champion.
“He loved racing. He was a very kind horse in his make-up. He was a dream to ride. Bart had a soft spot for him because he bred him and raced his sire.”
Saintly (Sky Chase – All Grace by Sir Tristram) was raced by Bart and good friend Dato Tan Chin Nam. He was known as the “Horse from Heaven” because of his name and his jockey, the devout Beadman.
He was also the horse who helped Cummings pay his way out of a crippling financial situation prompted by the collapse of the Cups King Syndicate. After the Melbourne Cup, Saintly went to Japan for a tilt at their Cup but became critically ill with travel sickness and missed the race.
Saintly was back to full health the following February to win the C F Orr Stakes but a tendon injury ensured it would be his last race. His final public outing was at Randwick in September 2015 when he made a special appearance on a day celebrating the life of his trainer who had died a week earlier.