Enda Bolger has paid tribute to cross-country stalwart Spot Thedifference following his death at the age of 25.
The JP McManus-owned gelding was a seven-times winner over the unique course at Cheltenham, striking gold at the Festival in 2005, with the late JT McNamara partnering him to each of those victories.
Spot Thedifference also counted two La Touche Cup wins at the Punchestown Festival on his CV, but Bolger pointed to his Cheltenham triumphs as the undoubted highlights of his 51 races under Rules, with his last win in November 2007 a particularly memorable occasion.
He said: "He was a pleasure to train and he and Mr McNamara just got on so well together.
"The last race he won really sticks in the memory as after he passed the post, he slipped up and was down for a few minutes before he got up - JT said he was just having a lie down before going to the winner's enclosure!
"The year he won at the Festival was pretty memorable, too, as I think plenty of people were tearing up their tickets at halfway as he was about a furlong behind the leaders. JT just kept niggling away at him and he just kept staying on to take it at the finish.
"He actually ran his last race when he was 14, so he had been retired for 10 years. We're all going to miss him.
"He was a real stayer and a proper personality."
Spot Thedifference officially bowed out in December 2007 and spent his retirement at McManus' Martinstown Stud in County Limerick.
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