Tragic tale of two stallions in love
A PAIR of champion male racehorses shared a romance worthy of any Shakespearean tragedy before fate tore them apart, their trainer has revealed.
Star-crossed stallions Simonsig and Triolo D'Alene - who both ran in the Grand National - were even shunned by other horses after falling in love, much like the doomed pair Romeo and Juliet.
They were both trained by Nicky Henderson at Lambourn, Berks, and first hooked up while summering at Hillwood Stud.
As geldings, they were unable to consummate their relationship - which was cruelly cut short when Simonsig passed away following a fall during a race last November.
Henderson told the Washington Post: "I mean, it must be colour. Had to be about colour, didn't it?
"Because the bays were all in a pack, and 500 yards away, on their own, were the grey [Simonsig] and the chestnut [Triolo D'Alene]. And they just spent the whole summer like that together."
The pair were forced to spend autumn and winter alone before getting together the next summer and resuming their affair.
Henderson added: "So what you'd call Triolo and Simonsig, I don't know, but it was two boys that fell in love with each other.
"I mean, the whole thing was weird. The thing was weird. But the thing out in the field was the extraordinary part, how they were completely and utterly ostracised or wanted to be separate from the bays.
"And there were always 10 in that field, every year. And I've never seen it happen before."
Tracy Vigors - who runs Hillwood Stud - explained: "They started segregating themselves off together.
"It was quite apparent quite quickly they were very much bestie-mates, I suppose you would say.
"They would stand together, eat together, walk together, trough together, eat out of the same food manger.
"They were like best friends in the human variety, who go to the pub together, who go shopping together. You see dogs cuddled up together. They were almost like that."
Both of the horses enjoyed successful careers with Simonsig winning eight of 13 hurdle races. Triolo D'Alene won six hurdle races, including the 2013 Hennessy Gold Cup.
But in November 2016, Simonsig broke a leg after falling at the third fence at Cheltenham and had to be put down by vets.
Henderson added: "They'd sort of shout for each other when the horse box got home.
"But then all of a sudden he wasn't going to come off the horse box.
"I don't think - you can't say he cried or he did anything like that; we were all doing that bit. You'd be making up stories if you said that [he mourned].
"I think you'd be making things up if you said that he didn't eat for a week."