Belisario joined us in 2000, having formerly been trained by Neil Graham. Owner Paul Jacobs sent him up to Sheriff Hutton to join us after the 1998/1999 jumps season. We called him 'Billy', and he was an instant hit, a real favourite with the staff.
Like many a good National Hunt horse he had started his career in bumpers, winning at Market Rasen in 1998 and going on to be placed in a couple of novice hurdles.
On joining us he was unfortunately off the track for a year and a half, but after a lot of 'TLC' as they say, he was to return across at Wetherby in October 2000 to make his yard debut. Ridden by Paul Flynn he won 'thehorsesmouth.co.uk Conditional Jockeys' Novices' Handicap' over 2m 7f, but after a fall next time out he was to be off the track for another year.
In December 2001 he began his chasing career, placing at Wetherby the day after Boxing Day. Another year on the sidelines followed, but he returned to West Yorkshire in January 2002 where Richie McGrath was the jockey to get him home in front in the 'Cloud 9 Fitness Studio At Wetherby Racecourse Novices' Chase'. For his troubles he got a nine pound hike in the weights, and after another placed run was to pile on another couple of pounds he scored at Doncaster, taking the 'Doncaster Racecourse Sponsorship Club Novices' Chase' over three miles in holding ground.
March 2004 saw Belisario head north to Newcastle, where he ran out a convincing winner for Colm McCormack. He'd been heavily beaten last time out, and the bookies dismissed him, but the 25/1 outsider defied his 113 rating to score what was to be his final victory.
On Boxing Day 2004 Belisario headed to Wetherby and was in contention before falling at the seventh fence. The following week he was to run what turned out to be his final race at Haydock Park, ridden by Tom Greenall. Held up at the rear, he took a crashing fall at the 12th fence, sustaining fatal injuries, his promising career being tragically and cruelly cut short. Losing a horse is always tough for everyone, but especially the staff who work with them every day and have such a sense of attachment, and of course that dreaded drive home with an empty horsebox, to a yard where a stable will remain unoccupied that evening. In a horrible coincidence, Billy's final race was 'The Last Fling Handicap Chase', a race named after Sue Smith's fourteen times winning chestnut who lost his life at Aintree in the 2002 Grand National.
Belisario was rated 122 at the end of his career. In his 11 starts after joining us he won four races and almost £20,000 in prizemoney.