Billesdon Brook, the longest-priced winner in the history of the 1,000 Guineas, has died at age 7.
The Richard Hannon-trained filly started 66-1 outsider of the field when landing the QIPCO One Thousand Guineas (G1) at Newmarket in 2018 under Sean Levey and again proved herself in top company when winning the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes (G1) on the same course the following year.
Jeanette McCreery, whose Stowell Hill Stud bred Billesdon Brook and who raced her in partnership, said: "It's awful—everyone is terribly upset about it. She had her breakfast, ate it all up. She went out grazing in the paddock with her foal and she suddenly started looking uncomfortable.
"We called the vet and thought she had a touch of colic or something. She went to the hospital and she had a very rare type of blockage in her gut.
"They decided to operate and when they opened her up they said there was absolutely no way of saving her, she was in terrible pain and they euthanized her."
Reflecting on the mare's racing career, McCreery said: "We had wonderful times with her, she was such a character—she did what she wanted to."
'It was huge for me'
Billesdon Brook beat multiple group 1 winner Laurens into second place when springing a shock in the Guineas and Levey said: "That day was special for everybody, especially Jeanette who bred a lot of nice horses.
"She was always going to step forward from the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn (G3) and I thought if she settled she'd be in the first four. Everything went right and it was huge for me as it was my first group 1.
"She was a huge outsider and people felt it wasn't a true Guineas so it was icing on the cake for her to win another group 1 in the Sun Chariot—the more so for me as I sustained an injury and she waited for me to come back before she won another.
"She had great natural speed. In races where they went a true gallop, which you get in group 1s, she'd settle—if she settled she'd be very dangerous."
Billesdon Brook, who also won group 3 races at Goodwood as a 2-year-old and 4-year-old, won seven times in total and earned more than £750,000 ($923,946) in prize money.