Remebering Reve De Sivola, by John O’Hara
Few National Hunt horses have made such an impression at Ascot as the wonderful old warrior Reve De Sivola, who sadly lost his life last weekend after a career that brought the public so much joy.
Reve De Sivola had his first run for Devon-based trainer Nick Williams in October 2008 when mid-division in a 2m maiden hurdle at Chepstow, which was where he would win his first race 53 weeks later - the Grade 2 Persian War Novices’ Hurdle.
He proved he was destined for the top just two races later when winning the Grade 1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury, and by the end of that season he had added a second Grade 1, the Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.
Subsequently tried over fences, Williams rightly reverted his charge to hurdles after winning just once over the larger obstacles.
On his second run back over timber, Reve De Sivola won his first Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot by 14 lengths from the classy Smad Place.
The following year, en route to defending his Ascot title he won the Grand Prix D’Automne at Auteuil. He added a second Long Walk Hurdle that year and in doing so joined an elite club of great hurdlers, including Baracouda and Big Buck’s, in winning this important staying race more than once.
In 2014 he attempted to do what only Big Buck’s had previously done and that was win the Long Walk for a third successive year, which he did in a thriller when prevailing by a head from Zarkandar.
Reve De Sivola won the tenth and final race of his career at Haydock last year on his preferred heavy ground. Although he did win a couple of times on good ground, he really came into his own when the going got tough.
The pride and joy of the Paul Duffy Diamond Partnership amassed a remarkable £625,501 in earnings throughout his 47-race career.
Champion jockey Richard Johnson paid tribute to his old partner, saying: “There aren’t many horses that can stay at the top level for such a long time. He was one of the best staying hurdlers I have ever ridden.”
‘Rev’ or ‘Revvy’, as he was affectionately known in the yard, was a credit to Williams who guided this teak tough gladiator to so many highs which earned him legions of admirers.
Although he won in three different countries and earned a career high rating of 167, he will forever be associated with Ascot and the Long Walk Hurdle.
The 2017 renewal of the race for which he will always be best remembered will be run as the JLT Reve De Sivola Long Walk Hurdle.