William Haggas paid a heartfelt tribute to Sea Of Class after the Classic-winning filly lost her brave battle with colic.
Last year’s Irish Oaks winner underwent surgery after being struck down with the life-threatening illness two weeks ago, but despite the best possible care, her condition deteriorated on Monday morning.
“She was a marvellous filly and obviously she had a huge amount of ability,” said the Newmarket trainer.
“She was very intelligent and very clever.
“She fought very hard, but today has been a sad day.”
Sea Of Class won four races in a row in 2018, culminating in the Yorkshire Oaks, and then got within a short neck of catching Enable in a pulsating renewal of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp in October.
She ran just the once this year, when fifth in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot on unsuitably soft ground.
Sea Of Class was ridden in all her seven races by James Doyle and he talked of how hard the news hit him.
“I spoke to William earlier today, I took a moment after talking to him and it hit me quite hard,” Doyle told Sky Sports Racing.
“She was one of those fillies, one in a million. She was one of those horses you dream about riding.
“It was it was to hard to think we weren’t going to see her on a track again, never mind not seeing her alive today.
“I thought about it. It was probably selfish of me thinking how I was and I actually reflected how difficult it was for everyone at Somerville Lodge, for William and Maureen to see her on the gallops every day and see her around the yard.
“Speaking to people who looked after her they said she had a beautiful character and was a very kind filly. They just adored her.
“I never rode her at home, I used to visit her the odd time in the stables and for me to feel the way I did, I couldn’t imagine how the whole stable are feeling.
“They got to see her day in, day out. Sadly she won’t be walking into the yard. It’s a tough blow. It’s really sad.”