Lisselan Farms and the Blackburn Family pay tribute to Imperial Call

Lisselan Farms and the Blackburn Family pay tribute to Imperial Call - It is with sadness we wish to announce to friends and his many fans, Imperial Call dies recently at the age of 25. He spent a long and happy retirement with his minder Billy O’Connell at Ahabollouge near Macroom. He enjoyed a wonderful summer but due to his advancing arthritis, the decision not to put him through another winter was a difficult one. We are indebted to Billy O’Connell for the wonder care he gave Imperial Call and to Ann Sutherland for her regular visits and devotion. We would also like to pay tribute to jockeys Gerry O’Neill, Mick Fitzgerald, Paul Carberry, and Ruby Walsh and of course Conor Dwyer’s outstanding Gold Cup win will live forever in our memory. We cannot mention Imperial Call without remembering his trainer, the late great Fergie Sutherland and the many exciting and thrilling moments they gave to us and his many fans. When Fergie retired we brought Imperial Call home to be trained Ray Hurley who also did a wonderful job and went on to win the John Durkan and Heinekin Gold Cup. We are astounded by the number of people who still remember that glorious Cheltenham Gold Cup day, Thursday 14th March, 1996 and the number of phone calls we received over the week-end. Its eighteen years ago, but it still seems like a fairy-tale when banks and businesses and half of Ireland closed down at 3.30pm to watch the race. We consider ourselves lucky to have to had such a wonderful horse and to have been able to share our good fortune and memories with his many fans. We hope he is enjoying “lush green pastures somewhere beyond, under the watchful eye of Fergie”