Duel purpose and multiple winners – the unique Chester Cup
Whistlejacket’s Chester Cup memories
As we all know, Chester is a tight track, the field is always on the turn and horses travelling wide can use up too much petrol. Alternatively, those on the inside can find their path blocked and be left with nowhere to go.
This is all the more the case with the Chester Cup run over two miles, two furlongs or about two -and-a-half circuits of the Roodee.
A bit like steeplechasers, horses often run multiple times in the Chester Cup and there have been quite a few multiple winners. Top Cees and Rainbow High both turned up regularly and won the Cup twice each.
Obliterated the field
Top Cees, a horse at the centre of a libel case against The Sporting Life in 1998 which the newspaper lost, had won the race in 1995 and in 1997 travelled much the best for Jimmy Fortune and obliterated the field.
The race is often won by quite a distance and in the old days a horse with a real light weight could make that pay. Merit, ridden by Jimmy Quinn, carried just 7 stone 10 pounds in 1996, and won very easily. It looks on the replay as if he had just joined in at the two-pole.
In 2000 there was a much closer-run affair. Chester Cup regulars Rainbow High (fifth), Prairie Falcon (third) and Ansar second) were all in the field. So was Top Cees who was pulled up injured, and whose last race this was.
He was saved from having to be put down and left an amazing legacy as probably the best dual-purpose horse (leaving aside Alderbrook) since Sea Pigeon.
It’s an interesting debate as to which has been the best dual-purpose horse over the last 40 years or so. Sea Pigeon would probably be the choice, although who knows what Detroit City could have achieved if he had lived.
That 2000 race was won by Bangalore ridden by another lightweight jockey, the “Angry Ant“, Gary Bardwell, who just held on from the Dermot Weld trained Ansar.
Rainbow High who had won in 1999, was back for more in 2001 and was given an ultra-confident ride by Richard Hughes. He was pulling double and went on to win by many lengths under 9 stone 13 pounds. So, if the horse is classy enough and gets a favourable trip, the weigh may not matter so much.
We will miss the Chester Cup this year but roll on 2021.
All the best
Whistlejacket looks back at the Derby in the 1980s http://wp.me/s8e3Dl-14420
Newmarket: the 400 year story of HQ http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-D6
Duel purpose and multiple winners: the unique Chester Cup http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3Mo