Mick Easterby fears poachers spooked favourite horse to his death

Mick Easterby is mourning the loss of his favourite horse Blue Spinnaker after he died following an incident overnight.

The North Yorkshire trainer fears poachers spooked the 21-year-old and he was seriously injured while fleeing his field.

Easterby reported that the retired Thirsk Hunt Cup and Zetland Gold Cup winner had to be put down after he collided with a gate, while he escaped with a herd of young horses he was looking after.

They were found on a road near Mill House Farm, Bulmer, this morning.

Easterby wiped away tears as he told how much his veteran ex-racer meant to him in a video on social media: "My old horse Blue Spinnaker broke his leg, (we) had to put him down.

"What a shame, he was 21-years-old, poor old lad. And he was my favourite horse, he won the Zetland Gold Cup, he won the Thirsk Hunt Cup.

"I gave £2,000 for him at Newmarket sales. He won me £150,000, but apart from that, he was the best horse for looking after foals.

"When the foals got weaned, he was the most wonderful master. He just thought the world of them."

Blue Spinnaker won nine races in 92 outings, after Easterby bought him from trainer John Hammond in France.

He overcame leg problems and raced to several victories at Doncaster, York and Thirsk, before he was retired in 2011.

Easterby believes the horses might have been frightened by poachers with dogs – and has contacted police about it.

"There are vehicle tracks in the field not belonging to us," he added.

"Herds of horses generally do not panic in this way unless they feel threatened."

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