Sir Gerhard aims for poignant Cheltenham Festival win in memory of 23-year-old breeder

Sir Gerhard is the sunshine in the darkness for the household of his breeder Jonathan Fitzpatrick.

Touted as the game’s subsequent famous person, the Irish ‘banker’ was the apple of his eye.

Tragically he wouldn’t see the Gordon Elliott-trained Weatherbys Champion Bumper favorite race to a few spectacular victories.

At the time of his loss of life in 2017, in a highway site visitors collision on the age of 23, he had bought Sir Gerhard for simply €17,000 from his household’s Keatingstown House Stud in Kilkenny.

Jonathan’s father Joe stated he knew proper from the beginning the teen was particular.

“He thought he was a cracker of a foal,” he stated.

“He moved well, was big and muscular. Jonathan was delighted with him.”

It was his concept to breed their mare Faanan Aldaar with Jeremy, a union which got here simply days earlier than the up and coming sire’s untimely loss of life in 2014.

Jonathan Fitzpatrick bred Cheltenham Festival runner Sir Gerhard

Jonathan had already seen a horse he purchased for €3,200, Ginger Pop, promote for €100,000.

But the £400,000 Sir Gerhard made in 2019, after his clear-cut point-to-point triumph, was on one other degree.

Sporting the colors of Cheveley Park Stud, no-other horse has been in a position to stay together with his tempo in the closing phases of races since.

“If Jonathan was alive he would be going nuts about him,” stated Joe.

“He would be so proud a horse he bred was racing at Cheltenham.”

A rugby-mad teenager, Jonathan set his sights on a career in racing from the household’s yard, which targeted on showjumpers.

His sister Susan competes one other of the younger horses he nurtured, CBI Keatingstown Victory.

Wherever he went, Jonathan left his mark, his household stated, with spells working for coach Jim Bolger, Coolmore Australia and the Irish National Stud.

“He was a very effervescent young fella,” stated Joe.

“We helped him buy his first showjumper from the sales at 17, I got a call to the office asking to pay for it!

Sir Gerhard

“I would watch him and a friend breaking-in horses out of the kitchen window.

“He was horse mad.”

In a normal year, without the scourge of Covid, there would be no place the family would rather be on March 17 – the date of Sir Gerhard’s race.

Instead they will be gathered around the nearest TV set, cheering him all the way up the Cheltenham hill.

And soon they will see his half-brother Hey Jonny, a horse named after a song created by one of his close friends, debut on the racecourse.

“If that labored out, would not it’s pretty?” Joe said about the gelding trained by Tom Mullins.

“But first we’re have our give attention to Cheltenham. The horse racing group have rallied round us, occasions like this are actually essential.

“We wish Sir Gerhard’s connections the best of luck. It will be so special to us and very emotional if he can win.

“Jonathan’s legacy lives on in so some ways.”

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