“ Sports: Horse Racing „
No, I'm not talking about Roy Rogers' equine companion and I haven't completely flipped my lid. I would like to put forward the name of the greatest stayer over the flat in my view... the only horse to win the Goodwood Cup on three occasions- Double Trigger. I was a novice at going to the races until 1997. I went to Goodwood on cup day and my mate told me I should perhaps back 'Trig - well I put £5 each way at 20/1 and he romped home, closely beating his brother Double Eclipse. It was an amazing feeling, and the exhilaration was stupendous. In 1998 we went to Glorious Goodwood again, and a whole bunch of us were feeling nostalgic and sentimental- Trigger was back and trying for an unprecedented treble. I had even suggested to relatives that they should back him- what a mug I was. The race came around at 3.20 and immediately there was a shock - Trigger normally likes to make the running and he was in third! Things did not bode well. My mate Tim suggested he was sulking! We all thought that that was it. In the final run-in over the last two furlongs he was sneaking up there, and eventually overtook kayf Tara with 100 yards to go. The whole racecourse exploded in rapture. he had done it again, and is still the only horse to win the Goodwood Cup, a long gruelling 2 1/2 mile flat race, on Three occasions, as well as coming second in the 1997 AscotGold cup. PS. I only got 9/4 on him in 1998!
Of course, it's facile to talk about which horse is the greatest of all time. The different codes, the different distances and the clouding of one's judgement by the wins or losses all conspire to make this a redundant argument. However, when followers of the turf get together, or when a 'new' horse puts in an impressive performance, immediately commentators and the animal's connections start by comparing them to the greats of yesteryear. And what's wrong with that? For me true 'greats' come in many guises. The most beautiful horse I ever saw was the filly Bosra Sham who won the 1,000 Guineas and Champion Stakes. It was always a 'will she / won't she' issue surrounding her apperances on course, because inaddition to her undoubted brilliance, she suffered tremendously with hoof problems. So much so that each apperance was like some sort of gift fromthe equine gods. For sheer guts and courage, Double Trigger's last two career victories in the Goodwood and Doncaster Cups take some beating. This season, the 'Iron Horse' Giant's Causeway has shown similar resolution and absolute refusal to be beaten in securing six Group One victories in a season - unheard of since the days of Mill Reef, well before my time. Over the jumps, greatness comes with a measure of adoration, bordering on love, since the horses are campaigned over many more seasons under this code. They have much longer to burn themselves into the collective psyche of racegoers. In this game Istabrraq currently stands head and shoulders above his contemporaries. He is going for a fourth Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March 2001 and all of his native Ireland (and most of the jumping world) confidently expect him to deliver. Many old timers will remember Arkle, Red Rum, Sea Pigeon, Night Nurse from the sixties and seventies. However, perhaps the single greatest jumps performance I've ever witness
ed was a defeat. Many know that Red Rum won three Grand Nationals however, his first win was at the expense of the magnificent Crisp. Ridden by Richard Pitman, Crisp humped maximum weight around Aintree's unforgiving 4.5 miles, and led for 4 miles 3 and a half furlongs. He jumped like a stag, but ultimately, his stamina ran out and his welterweight load anchored him within sight of the post as Rummy stormed by. This was the start of Rummy's love affair with Aintree but the plaudits of every true jumps fan that day, were for the brave Crisp.
There have been many horses that have been stars in their racing career and who doesn't know Red Rum. This horse absolutely loved Aintree and the Grand National having won 3 times and being 2nd twice no other horse will ever achieve this feat. He was such a great stayer, funnily enough I think Red Rum only ever won one other race in his career - but then he didn't to win anymore! Ginger McCain loved Rummy and kept him right up until his last days. Another great all star who comes to mind is Desert Orchard very much similar Red Rum another stayer who ran all day!! This horse always gave his all and thoroughly enjoyed his career, he's still making star appearances at various places and still gallops up the track when allowed when leading out any of the big races!! This is the sort of horses and living that racing should be proud of, giving their all in their races and living a wonderful life afterwards. These horses are true embassadors!!