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Sea Pigeon

Sea Pigeon (born 1970) was a racehorse who excelled in both National Hunt and flat racing.

As a son of the great Derby winner Sea Bird II, Sea Pigeon was bred to be a high class horse on the flat, but his efforts as a three-year-old were slightly lacklustre - trained by Jeremy Tree, he ran in the 1973 Epsom Derby, but only finished 7th behind Morston. He was subsequently gelded and was sold at the end of the season.

Following a short spell with trainer Gordon Richards, Sea Pigeon joined Peter (M.H.) Easterby's stable at the start of the 1976-7 National Hunt season, and he became a top class performer in hurdle races. His flat career also started to blossom with a succession of wins in top handicaps - he won the Chester Cup in 1977 and 1978, and the Ebor Handicap carrying 10 stone, which is still a record, in 1979. Sea Pigeon was ridden to his Ebor win by his regular hurdles partner Jonjo O'Neill - unfortunately due to the long ITV strike of that year, only those who were present at York that day saw it.

After finishing runner up to Monksfield in the Champion Hurdle in both 1978 and 1979, Sea Pigeon won the race in 1980, beating Monksfield by 7 lengths, and again in 1981, becoming the oldest ever winner of the race. The riding of his jockey John Francome in the latter year has been highly praised.

Having contracted a virus, shortly before the 1981 Aintree Festival, he never properly recovered, and was retired just before the 1982 Cheltenham Festival. He had won 21 races from 40 starts over jumps and 16 races from 45 starts on the flat.


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