- Hermes Allen, co-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, suffered a fatal fall at Sandown
- The promising novice chaser was looking to impress in a Grade One race
- Nickle Back, a 10-1 shot, won for jockey James Best and trainer Sarah Humphrey
Hermes Allen, the promising novice chaser co-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, suffered a fatal fall at Sandown on Saturday in an incident that left trainer Paul Nicholls bereft.
The gelding was sent off favourite for the Grade One Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase on the back of his performance at Kempton on Boxing Day, when he tried in vain to keep tabs on the magnificent Il Est Francais.
But Hermes Allen, whose biggest success came in Newbury’s Grade One Challow Hurdle in December 2022, crumpled at the second last fence yesterday and sustained irreparable damage.
He had worn the yellow silks of co-owner John Hales.
The race was won by Nickle Back, a 10-1 shot, who was giving jockey James Best and trainer Sarah Humphrey their first triumph at the highest level.
Hermes Allen suffered a fatal fall at Sandown on Saturday (pictured at Kempton in December)
Sir Alex Ferguson and John Hales were the co-owners of the promising novice chaser
Nickle Back gave James Best and Sarah Humphrey their first triumph at the highest level
Best said: ‘I just can’t believe it. Growing up you watch these races on the TV and dream of becoming a jockey.
‘I love the fact I’m a jockey, let alone winning races like this.
‘I was gobsmacked I was on him for his first chasing start at Warwick and for everyone to put their faith in me with this wonderful horse means so much.’
Earlier on the Sandown card, Peking Opera — once under Aidan O’Brien’s care — emerged as a Triumph Hurdle contender with a gutsy debut win over obstacles for new trainer Gary Moore.