Saphir foaled in April 2009 by Al Namix. He ran his first race in 2012 at the Auteuil Racecourse in France. The gelding then moved to Paul Nicholls' yard in Somerset and recorded his first win at Taunton in January 2013. Owned by the Stewart Family, the 13/14 season saw Saphir clock up a number of wins and his success continued into the next season.
In April 2015, he won the novices chase (Aintree) by 15 lengths, claiming a Grade 1 win to his name. Prior to that win, he finished runner-up in the Stayer’s Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, 3 lengths behind Cole Harden. Ahead of the 2017 Cheltenham Festival meet, he won at Kelso by 15 lengths before finishing up 5th place in the Gold Cup where jockey Sam Twiston-Davies was thrilled with his finish. Saphir always stood out on the race track against a predominantly bay pack of horses, who doesn’t love a dappled grey!
Saphir retired in Spring 2018 after pulling up in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham, won that year by Native River. After a short break, he joined Charlotte Alexander who had the pleasure of keeping Denman in his retirement. He is excelling at his new career, eventing, and is already completing his Novice runs and his dressage mark lowering as the season progressed. The aim for him this summer was to compete at the beautiful Barbury Horse Trials where he produced a clear round cross country in the Novice class, which is an amazing achievement after only 3 months of his first event.
Saphy as he is known at home, has also enjoyed team chasing and hunting with the Beaufort over the winter, over the Open courses, leading the “Boring Goring” team. Saphir du Rheu got to visit Aintree, the track where he claimed his Grade 1 win once more this year when he featured in the line up of the ROR parade this Spring, much to the delight of the public who still very much adore this beautiful boy.
“I am so lucky to have been given Saphy by Paul when he retired. Saphy is full of life and loves having fun. He is a workman and embraces all the different disciplines that are thrown at him (often in the same week) from show jumping to team chasing, Eventing and hunting. His ears are always pricked and he is full of enthusiasm. He is cheeky at home and a real show off in front of a crowd. He loves the one to one attention, demands polos and tells you he is a star. Hopefully he will be competing at Intermediate/ 2 star next season Eventing. He is already at top level team chasing and a beautifully mannered hunter.”