Aston Rowant owner-trainer Alan Hill paid tribute to Mr Splodge after his old favourite was put down in his farewell race at the Berks & Bucks Draghounds meeting at Kingston Blount, near Chinnor.

The 14-year-old veteran broke an elbow when unseating Emily Jarvis at the first fence in the ladies' open.

Hill said: "Ironically this was going to be his last run today, but he won me a race at Cheltenham and will never be forgotten.

"He was a great friend and we had tremendous fun with him. He won round here six or seven times.

"It is the end of an era, but we have to rebuild.

"He went in there full of enthusiasm and he has gone and jumped the fence, and within two minutes of that happening he has been put down, so it is very quick."

Mr Splodge won eight of his 22 starts between the flags, plus three of his 23 races under National Hunt Rules - a hunters' chase at Cheltenham plus handicap chases at Plumpton and Leicester.

It's the second horse the Aston Rowant trainer has lost at Kingston Blount in the space of two weeks after the well-regarded six-year-old Delayed In Dublin broke a fetlock at the last meeting.

Hill added: "We have had a fantastic season, but it is a hell of a price to pay for that success.

"There are worse things that happen, but it is very hard at the time."

Hill received a timely tonic when Bell Rock recorded a thrilling victory at Huntingdon on Tuesday night.

Jumping the last fence in third in the hunters' chase, Emily Jarvis's mount flew on the run-in to get up in the last stride and beat Watership Down by a nose.