Rositary, one of the earlier Selle Francais racehorse imports in the 1980’s, has died at age of 31. She was a remarkable mare, owned by Peter Winkworth of Dunsfold, Surrey, and won nine races in total for him.
These included five hurdle and two chases when trained by Stan Mellor, and the remaining two chase victories came at the age of 11, after having had two foals, when sent out by Peter, who was then a permit holder and a merchant banker.
This tough mare was also placed many times, including fourth in both the Keith Prowse Long Distance Hurdle, Grade 2 at Ascot in 1991 and the Premier Long Distance Hurdle Grade 2 at Haydock in 1995.
When she strode home unchallenged in a Plumpton steeplechase in 1994, few racegoers realised that this tough mare had produced two foals in a spell away from the racecourse.
Then 11, she returned to the racecourse for another tilt at victory with two cracking filly foals to her credit- one by Phardante and the other by Strong Gale. Peter Winkworth said at the time: “People told me it simply could not be done. Everyone said it was impossible to bring a jumping mare back at the age of 11 when she has had two foals. This was the challenge.”
Jamie Osborne came in for the 8-1 winning ride at Plumpton where she arrived at the last fence a distance clear and won by 12 lengths. In December that year Rositary followed up with a second victory in a three miles two furlong handicap chase at Folkestone, ridden by Chris Maude winning by 30 lengths.
She retired from racing to spend many happy years cared for by her owner, who went on to start Robins Farm Racing Stables at Dunsfold, Surrey, where he sent out more winners before he retired a couple of years ago. He continues to own and breed top class racehorses.
Peter Winkworth, announced the death of his much-loved mare, on Monday saying:” She was not quite top class, but she was as tough as teak and had the heart of a lion.”
A fine tribute for a remarkable mare. RIP Rositary