New Zealand has lost one of its most successful and undoubtedly versatile stallions with the death on Monday of Rich Hill Stud's Pentire.

The English-bred son of Be My Native and the Mill Reef mare Gull Nook was the Walton farm's foundation sire and subsequently made his mark from his base near Matamata at the elite level throughout Australasia and further afield.

"He was 25, but I thought he was going to live forever - he was still serving and so healthy and well," Rich Hill studmaster John Thompson said.

"We noticed after lunch on Monday he looked a bit uncomfortable and I got a bad feeling about it, in 20 years we'd only had the vet to him twice. We got him to the clinic and he went into surgery and when they opened him up they found a tumour that the intestine had wrapped around," Thompson said.

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"They removed the growth and the intestine hadn't been compromised. They got him into recovery, but sadly he didn't wake up."

A top quality racehorse with a Timeform rating of 132 at three and four, Pentire was the dual Group One winner of the Irish Champion Stakes (2000m) and the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (2400m) before his retirement in 1997.

Pentire has left 16 individual Group One winners, nine of them in Australia, of 33 races, 13 across the Tasman, from 1200 to 3200m with his son Mufhasa a 10-time winner at the highest level.

Xcellent was another outstanding representative with multiple Group One victories and a Melbourne Cup placing while Prince Of Penzance sparked Rich Hill celebrations three years ago when he won the Flemington feature. Pentire's G1 roll of honour also features Xtravagant, now at stud in New South Wales.

- NZ Racing Desk