Isle of Man Newspapers business editor Duncan Foulkes pays tribute to Grand National hero Many Clouds who died minutes after victory in an epic race at Cheltenham.
Many Clouds was undoubtedly loved and adored by people in the Isle of Man.
Jennings’s bookies director Sid Cunningham told me several times in interviews that ’Clouds’ was the favourite of Manx punters.
Sid, who has many years experience in the betting business said hardened punters as well as people who only had a flutter once a year, backed Many Clouds when he rode to victory at Aintree in 2015.
He called it the Trevor Hemmings factor. Mr Hemmings had owned the horse since it was a foal and told me this week he was nicknamed ’Our Manx horse’.
After one interview with Sid I chatted to punters in one of the Douglas Jennings shops. One man, in his work lunch hour, told me he swore blind not only to Many Clouds but also the other horses owned by Mr Hemmings. He showed me his betting slip containing the names of a couple of Hemmings’ other horses running that day.
I myself felt privileged to visit Many Clouds during one of his summer breaks at Mr Hemmings’s Ballaseyr stud, Andreas.
I had been invited along to meet the brown Irish bred gelding after interviewing a jubilant Mr Hemmings following his Grand National victory in 2015.
Many Clouds was perfectly happy to pose for a set of pictures with photographer Mike Wade. What a lovely horse.
Watching the proceedings close by from the neighbouring field were Mr Hemmings’ two other Grand National winning heroes Hedgehunter and Ballabriggs who live in happy retirement in the island.
What a trio of sporting champions!
Tragically Many Clouds will not be retiring here as Mr Hemmings hoped he might one day have done. Instead, as Mr Hemmings told me this week, his ashes will be coming to the island.
The full extent of the shock felt by the racing community at the horse’s death could be seen by the huge coverage in the Racing Post, the ’bible’ for race fans, in last Sunday’s edition.
As reported in this week’s Isle of Man Examiner a deeply saddened Mr Hemmings told me he was inundated with sympathetic messages from island folk.
He said everyone associated with the horse was devvastated including those at trainer Oliver Sherwood’s yard in Lambourn who returned home to an empty horse box.
Ten-year-old Many Clouds was universally adored and his amazing victory over odds-on favourite Thistlecrack in the Cotswold Chase will be remembered for years to come.
A post-mortem revealed an internal haemorrhage and there were no other underlying health issues.
Mike Wade of Isle of Man Newspapers took this amazing shot of Many Clouds on ’holiday’ in the island with Mr Hemmings
Jockey Leighton Aspell rode Many Clouds in all his races including the Grand National victory in 2015
Trevor Hemmings adored Many Clouds who was trained by Oliver Sherwood at Lambourn. His death stunned the racing community