IT is with regret that we have to relate the death of the well liked and much respected Stewart Pike. Stewart was the breeder, owner and trainer of a number of top class WestCountry point- to- pointers and steeplechasers, particularly during the 1990’s.
Based at Sidbury, Devon, he regularly produced from his mare Roman Lilly the likes of Winters Lane, Synderborough Lad (named after his farm), Proud Sun, Sweatshirt and the mare Front Cover who were all prolific winners.
It was Proud Sun who was the best horse he trained and gave him the most success. Unbeaten in his first four points he was narrowly beaten by What a Hand at Larkhill in February 1995 before then notching up four Hunter Chase victories that season culminating in a triumph in the John Corbet Cup at Stratford when beating the Richard Barber trained Cherrynut. In all of these Hunter Chase victories he was ridden by Mike Felton. Jim Culloty was the rider when Proud Sun triumphed the next season at Stratford, this time in the prestigious Horse and Hound Cup. Seamus Durack took over the reins when he returned to action in 1998 and showed all his class in the race of the season with Cheltenham Foxhunters winner Fantus at Larkhill in January, but sadly that was his swansong as he took a fatal fall on his next outing at Wetherby.
I am lucky enough to count myself as a personal friend. I have a strong recollection of a day over 30 years ago when Stewart, Monique and me travelled from Devon to Leicester races together for a Maiden Hunter Chase with their pointer Sidbury Hill in the trailer. With Jim Wilson in the saddle the horse won at odds of 7-2. That same horse was later placed in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham and ran in the Grand National. I think that Stewart thought him a good thing at Leicester !
Stewart and his wife Monique continued to be regular attendees at point to points after he retired from training and they were a very popular couple at both Devon and Cornwall and Wessex meetings until ill health intervened. Sincere condolences are sent to Monique and all of Stewart’s friends and family.